A survey by 3M TEKK Protection Brand and the National Safety Council revealed that 26 percent of homeowners who have completed a DIY home improvement project reported injuries to themselves or someone else in their household. Among those injured, 41 percent reported they got hurt because they weren't wearing protective gear despite it being within reach. And unfortunately, there is also a high rate of mortality from accidental injury. The National Center for Health Statistics found 136,053 deaths in the U.S. resulted from unintentional injuries.
DIY projects can save money and turn into a rewarding hobby but come with high risks. Protect yourself and the people around you by prioritizing safety and working carefully and meticulously. Start with this precaution checklist to complete your DIY home-improvement projects with safety in mind.
Your first defense against injury is protective gear that matches the needs of your DIY project. Slip on a pair of protective goggles for anything from mowing the yard to using an electric saw in your home workshop. Ear muffs or ear plugs may also be appropriate when working around loud noise to avoid temporary or long-term hearing loss.
There are also complete lines of work clothing designed to protect during construction and DIY projects alike. Cabela's offers a selection of Carhartt clothing with shorts, pants and footwear with built-in durability designed for hard labor. Choose flame-resistant duck bib overalls when working around open flames or sparks to prevent damage to your clothes and body. Meanwhile, durable jeans and long-sleeve shirts are perfect for maintenance projects that don't require tools and heavy duty equipment.
It’s not enough to just rent a pressure washer to take care of your home’s outdoor deep clean. Skimming through the manual and trying to master the equipment as you go can result in injury to yourself or other family members. Consider that a pressure washer gone awry can quickly result in injury.
Thoroughly read through all of the equipment manuals, watch an online tutorial or ask the vendor for a complete walk-through of any equipment before attempting to use it yourself. Go slow and try small tests before diving straight into the project.
Check the Health Hazards
The National Center for Health Statistics found that poisoning is the leading cause of accidental injury death in the United States. While drug-poisoning is the most pervasive threat, poisoning from chemical hazards is also an issue.
Reduce the risk of accidental poisoning to yourself and others by keeping chemicals like paint thinners and corrosive cleaners out of reach. Make sure any chemicals or cleaners are tightly sealed, and only use when wearing the appropriate protective gear, like goggles, work gloves and a ventilation mask. And before you get started on a maintenance or restoration project, always check to see if the home or area you're working on has a history of lead or asbestos.
Know When to Hire an Expert
Just because you can complete a DIY project doesn’t mean you should. Leave dangerous projects with a high risk for injury and that require professional equipment to an expert. Pick and choose your DIY projects, and leave complicated roofing touch-ups to professionals. One-fifth of deaths in the construction injury are the result of falls from height. Hire a professional roofing company with the appropriate roofing ladders, footholds and safety equipment to fix leaks and broken shingles.
Make your next DIY project focused around safety. The right safety clothing, equipment and precautions can keep you and your loved ones safe from injury. At the end of the day, a successful DIY project is one where no one gets hurt.