Whether it be building a deck, painting the house, or just making general household repairs, these homeowners rarely have a day off. They believe they can be a contractor, plumber, electrician, and carpenter all rolled in to one and can complete major improvement projects in just the two short days over a weekend. However, they often underestimate the scope of the work to be done and the majority of their knowledge has been picked up from HGTV, YouTube, a do-it-yourself book, or an hour-long class at their local home improvement store.
What they probably don’t know is that an estimated 20,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries occur each year as a result of home-improvement related injuries (Home Safety Council). Here are a few tips to keep these weekend warriors safe:
- If it’s an outdoor job, wear sunscreen for basic SPF protection.
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
- Keep a good first-aid kit on hand.
- Dress for the job at hand – bare feet and lawn mowers don’t mix!
- Read warning / caution labels (whether it be for a tool, chemical, etc.).
- Equip your garage or workshop and your home with fire extinguishers.
- Keep tools and supplies out of the reach of small children.
- Always position a ladder on a flat, firm surface.
- Keep drill bits, blades, and cutters sharp. Dull tools require extra force and can bind.
- Ensure corded power tools are plugged into a receptacle that is protected by a ground-fault-circuit interrupter (GFCI).
- Do not use damaged extension cords (dispose of them immediately if damaged).
- Think twice before working on gas pipes; it’s often best handled by a professional technician.
- Dust and fibers can be hazardous to breathe. When sanding wood or wallboard joint compound, wear a dust mask.
- Tackle only the tasks you feel safe handling (i.e. only perform electrical work if you have the required knowledge).
Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask someone for help! Although you may not want to admit it, the job may be too difficult for just one person. If you feel overwhelmed, hire an expert. No one wants a weekend warrior to become the weekend wounded! After all, there’s so much more to be done next weekend!