Essential Home Safety Tips For DIY Projects

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Working with power tools, electrical wires and outlets, and other dangerous building and repair materials can turn an ordinary home improvement project into a serious safety risk. Before you begin your next home project, make sure you have reviewed the appropriate safety measures and equipment to ensure your time spent working around the house is productive and injury-free.

Wear A Mask

One simple and inexpensive way to prevent injury and discomfort during home projects is to purchase the appropriate mask. If you will be working with dirt, wood shavings, building material or anything else than can potentially become airborne, you must wear a protective facemask to ensure you're not inhaling annoying and potentially toxic chemicals. Over time, inhaling particles of foreign material can cause asthma and other respiratory issues. In some cases of long term, repeated exposure, you may even suffer a serious illness or cancer.

Shield Your Eyes From Light And Debris

Protecting your eyes from excessive bright light, flying particles or liquid is one of the most important safety measures to take during Do-It-Yourself home projects. Depending on your specific work, purchase safety glasses, goggles or even a full face mask to protect your eyes from harm. Flying wood chips, sparks or even bright light from welding equipment can seriously hurt your vision, and may cause permanent damage.

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Keep A List Of Emergency Phone Numbers And Contacts

In the event you are injured during a home improvement project, you will need to seek immediate medical attention. Keeping phone numbers and websites for poison control, local hospitals, your family doctor and other appropriate medical professionals is essential to receiving the help you need as quickly as possible. Don't wait until an emergency strikes to frantically search for potentially lifesaving information. Keep the list in your garage, kitchen or anywhere else you will be able to quickly and easily access it.

Always Keep A First Aid Kit On Hand

For any minor injuries, it is important to always have a first aid kit in your home or outdoor workspace. Keep your medical supplies fresh, so bandages, anti-bacterial creams or sprays and pain reliever medications are never expired. Your home first aid kit should include:

  • Tape
  • Antibiotic cream or spray
  • Small stick on bandages, as well as rolls of elastic wrap
  • Latex gloves
  • Gauze
  • A first aid guide
  • Scissors
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Thermometer
  • A bottle of water
  • A pain reliever like Tylenol, Advil or Aleve
  • Emergency phone numbers

Protect Your Hearing

Like your eyes, nose and mouth, your ears need protection too. When working with heavy machinery, noisy power tools or garden equipment, always wear earplugs or noise canceling headphones. Repeated exposure to excessive noise can lead to hearing loss as the damage to your ears builds up.

Never Work Under Impaired Conditions

Though it should go without saying, never use tools or heavy equipment, or do any home repairs while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even extreme fatigue. Impaired senses can easily lead to a lapse in judgment, depth perception or even just a poor grip on dangerous tools. Always be well rested before operating power tools with blades, flame, sharp surfaces or heavy equipment.

Be Smart With Electrical Equipment And Outlets

Never attempt to save space or make up for a lack of electrical outlets by using multiple power strips in a single outlet, or plug several together to form a chain. Overloading the strip and outlet can easily lead either one to spark or blow out, potentially damaging or ruining your tools and possibly causing a fire. Also, don't charge one tool with a cord or plug designed for another. Electrical appliances vary in the amount of current they are designed to receive, and can break or cause a fire if given too much power from the wrong charger or cord.

Wear Supportive Accessories When Necessary

If you have a weak back, injured knee or sensitive elbow, wearing braces and wraps designed to support them is an easy way to help prevent further injury. Operating tools or other equipment with an existing injury can become dangerous if you are unable to hold/support/maneuver them properly, causing damage to you and your project. Keep your back and joints protected from further harm, and help prevent accidents.

Protect Your Hands

A pair of work gloves is essential for almost every DIY project. No matter what you're doing, you're going to be using your hands, so find the right pair for the job. Protective gloves can help prevent:

  • Lacerations or cuts from corners, points and sharp objects
  • Splinters or broken glass from getting lodged in your hands
  • Crushing injuries that can result in a fracture or broken bones
  • Burns from chemicals or actual fire

Make sure you find the appropriate sized glove to avoid snagging, and to ensure maximum comfort. Leather, padding and carbon-fiber knuckles are all excellent characteristics of a good pair of gloves for projects around the home.

Last Updated: September 12, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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