You’ve been thinking about it and putting it off for years, but it’s finally time to take on that DIY home-improvement project. You’ve planned it out, watched plenty of YouTube tutorials and bought all the materials you need. So what’s next? It’s time for a crash course in DIY safety.
Take Your Time
Accidents are more likely to happen when you’re rushing. You tend to take risks you know you shouldn’t and forget important steps. These accidents often happen with tools you’re already familiar with, such as ladders and drills.
Ladders are a common source of injury. Instead of rushing to grab the first ladder available and setting it up quickly, take the time to make sure you have the right tool for the job. You need to check that the ladder is tall enough to get you where you need to go or to let you reach what you need to. Don’t use a ladder that’s too short because you may lose your balance or fall off by overextending yourself. You also need to make sure you set up your ladder on stable ground so it doesn’t slip out from under you or rock as you climb up or down.
When it comes to drills and other power tools, you can’t take any shortcuts. Double check that your drill is turned off before you plug it in to avoid any accidents. If you don’t know how to use a power tool, take the time to read the instructions, watch a tutorial video or seek help from someone who does. You also should never leave a power tool on and unattended, even if for a second.
Have the Proper Protection Equipment
Before you start your DIY project make sure you have all of the protection you need to complete the job. This starts with the right clothing. Avoid loose-fitting clothing and instead opt for a brand of clothing that is made for doing labor. Get pants and shirts that will protect your skin from the sun and won’t get caught in any of the equipment. Opt for boots or closed-toe shoes that will protect your feet in case you drop something and will prevent slipping.
You also need to think about safety accessories, such as protective eyewear, gloves, ear plugs and masks. If you are cutting anything or using power tools, you should always wear glasses to prevent any materials from getting in your eyes. Wear gloves if you’re dealing with anything sharp and a mask if you’re using hazardous chemicals.
Know What to Do in an Emergency
Another important precaution you need to take before starting your DIY project is knowing what to do if something goes wrong. This isn’t a what to do if you mess up your project, but what to do in a real emergency.
The most important tip is to not panic. If something happens, take a deep breath and think before you react. For example, if something catches on fire, don’t immediately douse it with water. Electrical, gas and chemical fires react badly to water and instead need to be put out by a fire extinguisher (which you should always have nearby when you’re working). If something gets caught or stuck, you shouldn’t try to force it through or pull it out until you know it’s safe to do so. Turn off the piece of equipment you’re using, make sure any safety devices are on (such as on a large piece of equipment) and then work to dislodge whatever is stuck. If you keep a clear mind, you’re more likely to resolve the situation faster and smarter