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DIY Safety

DIY Safety

Whenever you are doing any DIY work in your house or garden it is likely that you are going to want to get the job done as quickly as possible. It is also likely that you will need to buy at least one thing that you had forgotten that you needed before you started and therefore end up rushing out to your local DIY store.

The temptation when you get back can be to make up the time you lost by rushing in all guns blazing without taking the necessary amount of time to sit back and go through your plan of action. Both in terms of quality of finish and your own safety, this is an extremely bad idea.

The biggest tip then for any DIY work is not to rush. Take your time and read all the instructions, guidelines and precautions for any of the tools or materials that you are using or else the results could be disastrous.

It is a very good idea to read any guidelines or precautions when you are in the store, before you purchase, as there are few more frustrating things than getting home, ready to embark on your task, and realising you need some safety goggles.

“I know what I’m doing. I’ve done something like this before”

It seems like an obvious piece of advice to give but, the amount of people, (especially us blokes), that think they are aware of the dangers and know what they are doing because of a Design Technology project at school that bared a vague resemblance to the job they are currently doing, is quite astonishing.

Especially as the project was often around 20 years ago, bared a lot less resemblance than you originally thought and, crucially, your end result back then wasn’t quite as perfect as your memory informs you.

Hints and tips for safe DIY work:

1. Tools

Bad workmen blame their tools, and so might a perfectly good workman if they are using below par instruments for the job at hand. Ultimately though, the workman is of course to blame as they buy the tools and it is well worth investing in some decent tools that are designed specifically for the job that you are doing.

Trying to do a job with tools that are not quite appropriate for the tasks you are undertaking will not only jeopardise the quality of the finish, but it may take you longer and also be dangerous.

When using knives always cut away from your person, you may think in the interest of speed that if you are careful it will not matter but it really is not worth the risk.

When you have finished for the day, when you are taking a break, or when you are finished altogether, it is vitally important that your store your tools away somewhere safe, especially if you have children or pets. A secure tool box on an out-of-reach shelf, in a locked garage, would be the ideal place to keep your tools.

2. Protective Apparel

Guidelines and precautions of use will often direct you to wear some sort of protective clothing, eye protection or dust mask.

A lot of cleaning materials, paints, woodworm killers and varnishes are toxic but some more so than others. Decent ventilation levels, goggles and a mask may suffice for certain products, however always read the guidelines as the fumes from some products are so strong that they will instruct complete evacuation of a room once they have been applied.

Also, toxic products are often flammable so do not smoke when applying, or checking, anything that may go up in flames, including paint.

Often common sense should dictate what is suitable clothing for a particular job, old clothes and painting go together like training shoes and running.

However some less obvious things that should be considered are the removal of loose jewellery and loose clothing as these things can get caught in drills, on loose nails or ladders.

3. Electrical work

Both gas and electrical work is often best left to registered professionals. If you feel comfortable that the service of a registered professional is not necessary and are undertaking any work to fix or check electrical connections yourself you should always turn off the power and remove the fuse or circuit breaker.

One thing that you can never be when undertaking electrical work is ‘too’ safe so always take every precaution even ones you think might not be necessary.

Ensure that you switch any electrical appliance you are working with off at the socket and just to be sure that it is not live, unplug the device as well.

Wear rubber-soled shoes when undertaking any work as the level of unnecessary risk if you do not far outweighs the level of inconvenience.

You should always keep a chemical fire extinguisher in the house whether you are partial to a bit of electrical DIY or not. Never try and put a fire out using water if it is in, or emanating from, an electrical appliance.

4. Power Tools

You should always choose power tools that have a non-conducting, plastic, body. You should always ensure that the tool is not plugged in when you are not using it and especially when you are switching between parts.

Extra precautions should be taken when combining tools and ladders, ladders make any situation dangerous. Always ensure that they are erected properly and locked securely in place, and always take a moment to check the surface is level.

Something as harmless as painting when up a ladder is dangerous, so it is easy to imagine the type of dangers that are apparent when using power tools when around ladders.

A useful tip can be to ask a friend to act as an assistant, passing you the tools when you are safely in position on the ladder.

Remember, the most important thing is to plan your actions and take your time. Never ever rush a DIY job as the consequences can be catastrophic.

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