No matter how careful you are, there is always a risk of injury when doing a home improvement project on your own. Even professionals sustain injuries from time to time—and that is with proper tools and training. With that in mind, there is no reason for you to feel invincible when doing a DIY project, especially if you are a novice at best.
To avoid getting hurt while doing a DIY project in your home, you must know about the risks. Here are the most common injuries that DIYers experience and how you can avoid them:
1. Cuts, scrapes, scratches
Getting a few small cuts and scrapes while doing a home project is often part of the experience. However, deep cuts or gashes are a different story. They make you prone to infection, and if the cut is severe enough, it might cause an untimely trip to the emergency room.
Wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is the best way to avoid this type of injury. If you are using sharp objects with your hands, wear work gloves. If there is sharp, flying debris while you are working, wear clothes that protect most of your body. You can also consider finding a health and safety workwear supplier if you need PPE in bulk. Otherwise, look for a suitable retailer near you.
Furthermore, do not touch the circular saw’s blade and keep your hands as far away from the moving saw as possible. Make sure your table saw is sturdy without any exposed nails. Also, store sharp objects properly.
2. Puncture wounds
The most common type of puncture wound for DIY projects is a nail injury, particularly from working with a nail gun. Some people also puncture their fingers on accident when using a hammer, but this is uncommon unless you are totally inexperienced.
If you have to use a nail gun, always be extra careful and keep your hands as far away from possible from the gun. Many nail gun injuries stem from people positioning their other hand somewhere near the tip of the nail, expecting that the nail will always come out straight. However, there is always a risk of the nail bending or sliding in unpredictable ways.
Whenever you are working with heat, chemicals, or sparks, always make sure that you wear proper PPE. More importantly, ensure that you know what you’re doing.
Burns are common injuries for people using heat tools, welding machines, or strong chemicals in their DIY projects. If you use any of these, cover your body properly to avoid injury in case flames, sparks, or chemicals come into contact with your skin.
4. Eye injuries
Obviously, eye injuries can be devastating when severe enough. At best, they can cause only mild discomfort or short-term sight problems. Nevertheless, you don’t want to take any chances.
If you are working with anything that involves flying debris, cover your eyes with safety glasses or goggles. The same goes for using a saw blade, as it can fly into your face if it breaks. If necessary, you may also want to wear a face shield over your goggles for extra protection.
5. Fall injuries
A fall from a substantial height can cause all sorts of injuries. Depending on how far you fell, you can sustain anything from a mild bruise to a broken bone—or something much worse if you happen to hit your head.
Most falls occur when using a ladder. The best way to avoid this type of accident is to have someone hold the ladder steady while you are using it. Furthermore, it is imperative that you inspect the ladder beforehand and ensure that it is strong enough to hold your weight.
If you are working on the roof or any other type of elevated surface, wear a helmet to protect your head in case of a fall. Also, consider buying additional safety equipment like harnesses if you’re planning to spend a lot of time working at a great height.
6. Accidental poisoning
Paint, adhesives, waterproofing, wood stains, and other construction-related products contain chemicals that can be toxic to humans and pets. Albeit unlikely, there is still a risk of accidental ingestion of these chemicals if they somehow end up in your mouth (for example, if you eat without washing your hands after handling a chemical product). Thus, make it a habit to wash your hands thoroughly every time you take a break from your project.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It pays to be prepared. If you want to make your DIY projects as safe as possible, be aware of these risks and know what to do to avoid them.