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DIY top tips to stay safe this spring Posted On 05 April 2019

DIY stay safe

Springtime tends to see an increase in hospital visits after a rise in DIY related accidents

With the longer days and dryer weather, it’s the perfect time to get started on those DIY jobs. When done safely and with the right equipment, DIY, or ‘do it yourself’, is a great option for small jobs around your home. It’s a fantastic way to add value to your property and save money at the same time. But, before you head to your local hardware store, did you know over 200,000 people are admitted to A&E with DIY injuries every year? These accidents can have serious consequences including; time off work, permanent injury and the costs involved in fixing jobs gone wrong.

With YouTube and Google, there are thousands of ‘how to’ videos available for every job. Following these videos is a great idea in principle, but how do you know the person who made the video is an expert? Is it worth putting the safety of yourself and your family in the hands of a total stranger? The number of people who follow health and safety guidelines when doing jobs at home is small. When was the last time you tested your extension leads or changed the blade of your hacksaw? Do you know how to? The older generation was raised to fix things themselves, so it may be a good idea to ask parents or grandparents for advice before tackling any job. You can stay safe by following these simple tips.

Ladders. 

48,000 people , half the capacity of Wembley Stadium, are admitted to hospital following a fall from a ladder every year.

Here are some handy tips to help you stay safe:

  • Always follow the four-to-one ladder rule; whenever you have four feet to climb, move the base one-foot away from the wall
  • When using a ladder always place it on a level, stable surface and never set a ladder on another object
  • Wear sturdy shoes with a good grip, especially if you are cleaning windows

Power Tools. 

5% of all accidents are caused by power-tools, these include; amputations, lacerations and puncture wounds.

  • Always take the time to read the instructions • Never use a power-tool under the influence of alcohol, save the wine for celebrating a job well done and not before!
  • Wear proper safety gloves to protect your hands
  • If there is a safety guard, do not remove or adjust it as it is there for your own protection

Eye Injuries. 

Over 20,000 people , just under the entire population of Gibraltar, are admitted to A&E with eye injuries every year in the UK.

  • Shavings of wood or metal entering the eye not only cause irritation but, can cause permanent damage. Wear protective eyewear, not sunglasses, at all times
  • If using chemicals, make sure you wash your hands straight after you have finished the job and avoid touching your face or eyes

Call in the professionals.

With any job that you are thinking of doing, remember that the professionals have had health and safety training and must adhere to strict guidelines. Some jobs are simply too big to do yourself and for these it will always be better, and safer, to call in the professionals.

If you are drilling through a wall and are unsure if there are any electric cables behind it, always call an expert. If you drill through a mains power cable, you risk electrocution and thousands of pounds worth of damage to your home.

Planning on knocking through a wall? Get a professional in to double check you won’t be doing any structural damage to your property. Damaging the structure of your property could invalidate your insurance or cause problems when the time comes to sell. Year on year the escape of water is the largest insurance claim made, so if you are planning any plumbing projects, big or small, it may be a good idea to get the professionals in first.

DIY is fun, but accidents can be costly, not just to your body, but to your bank account. So, be safe and if a job is too big, call an expert!

Hand tools. 

10% of all accidents are cuts from hand tools such as knives, chisels and screwdrivers. To cut down the risk follow these simple tips:

  • When using a hand tool, such as a knife or screwdriver, make sure you are using the right tool for the job; do not use a chisel as a screwdriver!
  • If your tool has a wooden or plastic handle, check it before each use and replace it if it’s split or loose, otherwise it may fly off and injure you or someone nearby
  • Keep blades sharp; with dull blades, you will have to use more pressure, which can lead to more slips and accidents

Here are some recent accident statistics:

  •  70 people die each year from DIY related accidents
  • Between April and September, the number of accidents rises by 58%
  • The group most at risk are 30-39-year-olds
  • 90% of all accidents involve men
  • Wallpapering injures 1500 people a year
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