DIY home upgrades are very popular today, and while there are certainly many repairs you can do yourself – painting or varnishing a fence, trimming your hedges, or installing shelving – there are others you should leave to the professionals.
Anything involving a high ladder, for example, could lead to a severe injury. If you’ve got to climb much higher than a large stepladder, it might be time to call in repair reinforcements. At the very least, you’ll need to use the right height ladder for the job.
About 13 million people are injured in home repair accidents every year, with about 55,000 accidental deaths, many of which could be avoided. Before you get out the power tools, consider these stats. Home repair injuries are common and one could easily happen to you.
1. Power Tool Injuries: Power tools are obviously very dangerous because they’re meant to tackle big jobs and many feature dangerous blades or points. That’s why it’s not surprising that most power tool injuries are severe lacerations, many of which require stitches.
If you intend to use power tools for a job, make sure you know what the right tool for the job is. Too often, people look at their tools and choose the closest approximation to what they think will work – often resulting in more home destruction than construction.
It’s also never wise to use your power tools if you’ve been drinking – so no lazy afternoons drinking beer and using your chain saw if you want to have all your fingers when you’re done.
2. Ladder Safety: While three feet may not seem very high, a fall from three feet up on a ladder can cause severe injuries or even death. That’s why you need to emphasize safety when using a ladder, even for small jobs.
Luckily, when setting up your ladder there’s an easy proportion you can use to stay safe. The 1:4 proportion dictates that you put the ladder a foot away from the wall for every four feet up it rises. This can also help you choose a ladder of the appropriate height for the job.
If you’re uncertain about how safely you can use a ladder, consider investing in a ladder with extra supports, whether that means leg extensions for more stability or something like a surrounding safety cage, as featured on some industrial ladders.
Spending a little extra to stay safe will be helpful in the long run.
3. Yard Work Dangers: Very few people consider the significant dangers involved in mowing your lawn, yet simple yard work ranks high on the list of home improvement dangers. When mowing the lawn, it’s important to always wear closed toed shoes – no exceptions for sandals in the summer. It’s also wise to wear protective goggles of some kind. If you hit a rock or other debris, a flying object could cause permanent visual damage.
Mowing the lawn is also a chore too often passed on to older kids who aren’t mature enough to complete the task safely. Reserve this chore for adults and encourage all kids and pets to go inside while you mow. Too many children have been severely injured by approaching a lawnmower while it’s in use.
Finally, before you decide on a DIY project because hiring a professional doesn’t fit in your budget, take the long view. You may not think that hiring a professional roofer is something you can afford, but can you afford medical bills, possibly surgery, and days or even months out of work while you recover from a home repair injury? When looking at the big picture, it’s often safer and cheaper to hire a professional when there’s a big job at hand.
While many home repair injuries are purely accidental, practicing appropriate home repair safety, and encouraging those around you to do so as well, can cut the number of emergency room visits and accidental deaths caused by DIY efforts.
Don’t become a statistic – be a model safety citizen.