Did you know that nearly a quarter of all people doing their own construction projects at home injure themselves in some way? One in four people building small structures has injured themselves by not taking proper safety precautions.
This rate of accidental injury is slowly increasing, which means that it’s becoming more important to consider safety during home construction projects. Here are some guidelines that will reduce the risk of an accident while building something at home.
Wear the appropriate safety gear
You may think that you don’t need protective gear when doing small construction projects at home, but this is how so many people get injured. You need to wear rubber gloves when working with cement. Having proper boots will protect your toes if you drop heavy objects.
Safety goggles will protect your eyes from dust and sparks. Wear a dust mask or face cloth when mixing cement powder. Wearing the correct safety gear is the first step to avoiding injury during a home construction project.
Know how each tool works before using it
Make sure you know how to use every power tool before operating it. Drills, angle grinders and disc saws can cause serious injury if used improperly. Read the instruction manuals or get someone to teach you how to use these tools beforehand. Remember to wear protective gear when operating power tools.
Look out for loose objects and misplaced tools
If things are left lying around the site, they become accidents waiting to happen. Always keep an eye out for loose objects and tools left lying around. Sometimes tools get left on top of ladders which can fall when the ladder is moved. Hammers and saws can also cause injury if they are left unattended.
Another common injury during home construction projects is caused by loose nails and sharp metal objects. Stepping on a nail or screw without proper footwear can cause serious injury to the feet. Loose objects can also be a tripping hazard, so keep watch for wooden planks, loose bricks and wires on the floor.
Lift heavy objects properly
Back injuries are all too common during small building projects at home. People injure their backs when lifting heavy objects, such as cement bags and toolboxes, in the wrong way. To avoid injuring your back, do not try to lift heavy objects on your own. Know how much weight you can lift and ask for help when the load is too heavy.
When lifting cement bags and other heavy items, keep your back straight. Bend your knees and squat to grab the object, then use your legs to lift rather than your back. Keep the load close to your body (in between your knees) to minimise strain on your spine. Never twist your body when lifting.
Be extra careful when climbing ladders
People fall off ladders too often. There are a number of ways to accidental falls and injury when climbing ladders and all of them start with common sense. Firstly, always face the ladder when climbing it – never turn around. Always hold on to the ladder with your hands, don’t let it go. You can carry tools in your belt to free your hands when climbing.
Before using a ladder, set it on a firm and level surface. Check its balance and make sure that it won’t slide while you’re on it. If you have to put up a ladder in front of a door, make sure the door is locked so that no one will knock the ladder over when coming through the door. Remember that the top two steps of any ladder are not the safest places to stand, so use a ladder that is slightly taller than necessary.
Ask for help from a professional
Don’t be shy to ask for assistance from a professional builder, plumber, electrician or woodworker. If a project has an element of danger or risk, ask for help from someone with experience, knowledge and the proper tools for the job. Professional contractors know how to do things properly in a way that will minimise the risks of injury or accidents.
These safety guidelines will help to keep you safe during your home construction project. Follow these tips to avoid injury and ensure the safety of anyone else walking around the construction site. Proper safety precautions will ensure that your small building project will be a success.
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