As we had into the DIY season, many of us decide to tackle home improvements. But did you know there are a myriad of potential injuries that can arise, from cuts and fractures to poisoning and even blindness?
DIY can be good fun, you just need to take a few precautions first. Health and safety expert, Richard Donarski shares five tips on how to stay safe when doing home improvements.
1. Ask an expert
While all equipment looks the same, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it does the job. For example, a particular respirator mask may only be compatible with certain chemicals or materials. When unsure, ask the retail staff and provide them with the exact details of what you intend to do. Don’t take a gamble, especially when working with tools or chemicals.
2. Work with a partner
Find a partner who can share a load of the work or observe what you’re doing. A second set of eyes can assess risks that you may have initially missed.
3. If you’re tired, stop
It’s tempting to want to continue on a project well into the night, until it’s near complete. It’s best, however, to allocate yourself time periods where you will work on a project. Ensure that you’re feeling refreshed and have a clear head. If you’re only a fraction of the way through the job but feel distracted or drowsy, then stop. This is the prime time for mistakes to happen. Clear away any hazards such as cables, tools or debris and start again when you feel able.
4. Purchase certified safety equipment only
This equipment will be branded with an appropriate certification mark, the Australian Standard reference, and should include the name of the organisation, the date it was certified and a Certification Licence number. Be aware that not all products that claim to be certified are to an Australian standard. To be safe, look out for the Five Ticks ‘Certified Product’ StandardsMark™ or enter the Certification Licence number online.
5. Be careful when buying second hand
Do you really know what that piece of equipment has been through? For example, a hard hat may look okay, but if it’s been left out in the sun every day, the chances are that its protection is nowhere near the level it should be due to strong UV rays, weakening its shell. Additionally, second hand DIY equipment may come with zero instructions. “They’re not the kind of equipment that you want to be playing a guessing game with,” Richard says.
Do you like doing DIY at home or do you leave it to the specialists?