If you decide to tackle do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects this Spring, you need to make sure safety is a part of your grand plans. Here are some safety precautions you should take before hammering that first nail.
Choose Appropriate Clothing
Avoid wearing loose clothing while working on your project. Baggy shirts, pants or jewelry can easily snag on your materials, tools or other moving parts. Getting articles of clothing caught on something may ruin them, or lead to an injury. Most clothing is also flammable, so be sure to keep yours away from the flame of a blowtorch or other materials that could ignite them. Take the time to check your clothing for holes to prevent any chemicals from splashing in your skin.
Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
To be safe, you have the right personal protective equipment (PPE). Safety glasses, welding masks, earplugs, dust masks, gloves, and boots are just some PPE you should consider. Research what gear should accompany the tools you need to use for your DIY project. If you plan to work with chemicals, make sure you have the right PPE to help avoid contact with your skin.
Proper Use of Tools
Whether you are using hand tools or power tools, you need to make sure you know how to use them properly. Any misuse of tools can cause injury. When using sharp tools, be careful with the blades or edges, and wear gloves for extra protection. Be aware of any other people in the room, as well as any potential trip hazards, like loose wires or rugs that might cause you to be cut should you trip.
Some tools require a source of power, like batteries, electricity, gasoline or compressed air, to run. These power tools have risks associated with them that you need to be mindful of. Gasoline can ignite near flames or other heat sources. Batteries may leak acid. Electrically-powered tools can cause electrocution if the tool or the cord is damaged, or they aren’t used properly. Before using any power tool, inspect it for damage like frayed power cords or cracks and be aware of any built-in safety features. Power tools should be maintained properly. Be familiar with the instructions and check the manufacturer’s warnings and precautions before use. Keep children and pets away from tools while you’re working. When you aren’t working on your project, always unplug power tools and store them in a place that children can’t reach or in a locked storage cabinet.
Keep a First Aid Kit on Hand
Hopefully, you’ve taken the proper precautions, but in case something goes wrong, make sure you have a basic first aid kit on hand. The kit should be well stocked, easy to carry and within reach while you are working on your project. It’s also a good idea to buy one that is endorsed by the American Red Cross.
Keep a Tidy Workspace
To avoid creating additional hazards, it’s important to keep your work area tidy and organized. Always pick up and properly store tools, chemicals or other potentially dangerous materials. Don’t leave them on the floor where you can trip over them or step on sharp parts. Keep all power cords untangled and out of your walking path. Your workspace should be well-lit so you can see what you’re doing and avoid any potential hazards.