8 Home Repair Safety Tips
There’s nothing quite like getting an early start on a Saturday morning, clear blue skies, to-do list in hand, power tools at the ready, extendable ladder waiting to reach its maximum height, and, of course, 911 on speed dial.
There is a great pleasure in checking things off the weekend around the house to-do list, but nothing destroys that pleasure quicker than a fingertip in a cup of ice and a panicked jaunt to the emergency room.
Doing home repairs is excellent. If you can make the repairs yourself, it saves money, gives you a feeling of accomplishment, and earns you the right to put your feet up and watch football all day Sunday. What’s even better is doing home repairs safely. Ending the day with a sense of accomplishment and all your fingers shouldn’t be an anomaly. So, to help you out, we’re going to offer you these eight essential home repair safety tips to help you keep your fingertips and get things done.
Let’s start here. For every home repair job, you’re going to need a tool. It’s always best to get good quality products when it comes to hand tools or power tools. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg, but you also don’t want to buy a power tool that’s dirt cheap and comes with a bottle of bourbon either.
When it comes to power tools, look for the top of the line, but get them on sale or at a discount store.
Use the proper tool for the right job. It may seem okay to use a flathead screwdriver as a chisel; I mean, no one’s watching, but that damages the tool, and it opens up a situation where you could injure yourself. Use the tool the way it was intended to be used.
And keep your tools in good shape. Don’t allow them to rust or allow frayed connectors. A well-maintained tool will reduce the chance of malfunction, which could lead to injury.
Always wear safety glasses when working with power tools. It seems pretty straightforward, but every year 2.4 million eye injuries occur in the workplace. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), 90% of eye injuries can be avoided simply by wearing protective eyewear, safety glasses.
Safety glasses should always be worn when sanding, filing, sawing, or any other repair job with particles flying around. Make sure your safety glasses wrap around the sides so that your eyes are fully protected from particles that may be deflected and reach your eyes from an angle.
Speaking of safety, which this entire article is about, never remove safety guards installed on power equipment. You’re opening yourself up to injury, and you may throw the machine off balance and reduce its optimum efficiency.
Invest in a good ladder; you’ll use it all the time, from changing bulbs to painting, cleaning gutters, and getting things out of trees like cats, frisbees, or a pizza. A good, sturdy ladder is a staple for any home repair job. A wood ladder or an aluminum ladder, either one will work. However, it is good to note that aluminum ladders are about 20% to 50% lighter than wood ladders making them easier to transport and set up.
Most ladders will have a strength rating on a sticker on the side. A type I industrial grade ladder is rated to up to 250 pounds, which is the strongest. A type II commercial-grade ladder is rated up to 225 pounds, type III at 200 pounds. However, each ladder is successfully tested to four times its rated load. For home repairs, a type II ladder, six-foot-tall, will do the trick. Get one with rubber or plastic feet so that it doesn’t slide on wood floors.
Always open a step ladder fully, and don’t lean a step ladder against a wall. If you’re using an extension ladder, ensure that it is fully locked before you ascend. And always make sure the ladder is fully planted against a wall, with both sides of the ladder touching the surface you’re working on. Do not balance a ladder on one leg.
Also, remember the four to one rule. For every four feet of ladder height, the bottom should be one foot away from the wall.
Dress for the Job
Along with safety glasses, you’ll want to be sure you dress for the job you’re doing. No matter what home repair project you’re working on, shorts are never a good idea. You’ll want to protect all skin areas from possible cuts or abrasions. Heavy pants, jeans, or thick work pants are the better choice.
Also, boots, sturdy with support and preferably a steel toe, are a must. Also, wear a headcover to keep sparks and dust, and other debris out of your scalp. If you’re working with lumber or steel, it’s not a bad idea to wear a hard hat. And don’t forget respiratory masks when working with flying particles; if you’re sanding or drilling, wear a mask.
A First Aid Kit
This one should really be at the top of the list, so do us a favor and mentally move it there, would you? Thanks.
Before you start any kind of home repair job, no matter how small, you should make sure you have a first aid kit and that it is up to date. You can buy one fully prepared, or you can make one yourself. But make sure you have one, and you know where it is before you start a project. If you’re unsure what all should be in a first aid kit, go to the experts. Here’s a link to the Red Cross that will give you the full lowdown on an excellent first aid kit for your home.
Instructions are not the enemy
It seems that some people, we mean men, find that reading instructions is a sign of weakness, something akin to stopping and asking for directions. Well, for safety’s sake, don’t be such a dude. Read all the instructions for any repair job you’re going to do thoroughly and usually twice before you lift one tool.
Instructions are written to make jobs easier and more logical. Also, reading and following instructions cut down on the chances that you’ll injure yourself. So, read and follow the instructions. Always.
Clean is Safe
One of the surest ways to avoid accidents and injury is to keep your working space clean and free of clutter.
Properly store tools, wires, chords, and such, and this will help you avoid tripping. Also, if you put everything away in its proper place, you save time and energy when you’re looking for that tool or paint can.
Make sure sharp tools and dangerous materials are way out of reach of children and keep flammables in their own place, far from anything that could even remotely set them off.
Sweep floors and keep worktops clear of unnecessary nails and screws which could cause you to get cut.
And, make sure your first aid kit has eyewash and antibiotic cream for cuts.
Do some research
Always know what you’re going to be facing with any home repair project. Know what could go wrong and what to do if it does go wrong. Knowing allows you to keep your frustration under control, and that minimizes the chance for injury.
No doubt there is a video on youtube about the project you’re going to undertake, watch a few dozen, take notes and know what you’re getting into, and have backup plans and all the proper tools before you start.
The more you know about the project you’re tackling, the better your chance for complete success and safety as well.
Home repairs, when done safely and correctly, can just make your day. When you can pull off a good DYI project, you save money and feel more satisfied.
If you do get injured
Even when you follow all the safety rules, you may still get injured. Things happen. If they do, don’t panic, that never helps. Get to the doctor immediately, but if you can’t, here are some tips for handling lacerations.
A minor cut
A minor cut is a shallow laceration less than an inch in length. There may be some bleeding, but not profusely. The skin around the cut can also bruise or swell. Most minor cuts are easily treatable onsite with a stocked first-aid kit.
- If the cut is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth, piece of gauze, or tissue.
- Wash your hands before caring for a cut.
- Remember, the solution to pollution is dilution! Clean the wound by flushing it thoroughly with room temperature tap water.
- Pat the area dry and apply a sterile bandage.
- ONLY apply a solution or ointment IF your physician/healthcare provider has directed it. NEVER put any solution on a wound that was not discussed or recommended by your healthcare provider. Seriously, don’t.
- Keep the bandage clean and dry. Change it daily, and do not reuse bandages.
Check often for signs of infection such as increased redness, warmth, foul odors, and excess discharge. If you suspect any signs of infection, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Most mild skin wounds will heal without intervention.
Some lacerations are treatable at work, but not all. When the steps to treat minor wounds aren’t working, it is time to seek professional medical attention. Some of the indications that the laceration needs immediate medical attention are,
- The wound is still bleeding after applying pressure for several minutes.
- Puncture wounds. For example, a deep puncture wound from a nail gun can also cause potential muscle or bone damage.
- The laceration is over an inch long, requiring stitches for proper healing.
- Bone or tendons are visible.
- The cut is on the face and affects the individual’s range of motion, or the individual is experiencing numbness and tingling in the injured area.
If you have not had a tetanus shot in five years or longer, you should see a medical professional for treatment after any minor or significant cut.
When it comes to knowing about safety around the home, no one is more experienced than the home builders at Revere Homes. If you’re thinking about home improvements or maybe even moving into a new place, contact them, they’re always there to answer questions, get you started and keep you safe in your home.