Home improvement projects can be challenging, yet completely rewarding once the task is complete. We spend hours pouring over every detail of a project, but often neglect safety aspects we need to consider during the project’s duration. There are several things you can do prior to beginning your project to ensure everything goes as safely as possible.
1. Ensure Proper Ventilation
It is crucial to have proper ventilation when working on any home improvement project. Not having adequate ventilation puts you at risk of harmful paint or chemical fumes or sawdust. These substances in the air can make it extremely difficult to breathe and can have damaging effects on your lungs. Leaving the windows in the room open as much as possible during projects and placing fans or extractors in the window to pull air and chemicals are some ways you can ventilate a space during your project.
2. Use a Respiration Mask
If you are in a situation where proper ventilation is not possible, or you just want additional protection for your lungs, wear air filter masks or respirators. Working with asbestos, black mold, or other toxic dust, as well as noxious fumes, is extremely dangerous. Equipping a mask before entering a space and beginning a project is an excellent way to ensure our lung safety.
3. Use Safety Glasses to Protect Your Eyes
When nailing or cutting, we run the risk of having nails, sawdust, or other harmful substances and items ricochet or fly into the air. These items can have a damaging impact on our eyes, which is why it is extremely important to protect them. Wear safety goggles while working on projects to ensure your eyes are safe from harm. If you are working with chemicals, or in areas where there are flying objects, dust, and other particles in the air, wear goggles that have side shields to ensure complete protection.
4. Wear Work Gloves
Work gloves are an excellent addition for safety during home projects; however, they should not be worn at all times. It is important to wear safety gloves when handling rough materials. If you are working with glass, sheet metals, and rough woods you will want to wear them to avoid cuts. If you are working with tools you want to remove the gloves in order to have better control over devices. For handling rough materials, select gloves that are puncture and tear proof to ensure the best protection. If you are working with paints, chemicals, and other harmful liquids, wear thick rubber gloves to protect your hands.
5. Make Sure Your Ladders Are Safe
Before stepping foot on to your ladder, make sure it is still reliable. Using an unstable ladder is a recipe for disaster, especially when working in extremely high areas. Ladders need to be sturdy, have proper footings, and the steps need to be securely in place. Give each step a shake prior to using, and tighten up any loose steps when necessary.
In addition to ensuring your ladder is physically safe, it is important to make sure you select the correct ladder for the job. Use stepladders for lower jobs where you do not have to struggle to reach certain items or hold tools. Ladders are available in several lengths, so be sure to select one that allows you to work safely, at a reliable height, without exerting your arms or standing on your tip-toes on the ladder. Finally, ensure the ladder you select will hold you and your tools. Ladders are each designed to hold a specific weight limit and it is important for users to adhere to the guidelines provided.
6. Make Smart Choices with Electricity
Electricity is an important part of most home improvement projects. We often need electricity to power tools, light the area, and keep ventilation units working properly. Although extremely beneficial, electricity can be very dangerous if precautions are not taken on the job. Anytime you work directly with electricity, whether you are rewiring an entire room or updating a light fixture, you need to make sure the electricity is turned off before you begin. Some ways you can be safe with electricity are:
- Shut off the breaker box completely to ensure no wires are live when handling.
- Make sure you are replacing electrical items with equivalent parts to ensure they function properly.
- Conduct wire tests before touching to ensure they are not live.
7. Select the Right Tools for the Job
In order to complete the job safely, it is imperative that you select the right tools for the job. Make sure you have a variety of sizes available for screwdrivers and wrenches in order to secure a proper fit. When working with power tools, review the safety instructions and directions to make sure you are using the machines correctly everytime.
When changing drill bits, router heads, saw blades, or other tool components, make sure the machine is powered off completely and unplugged before doing so. Faulty switches can cause machines to turn on while changing, which can put you in a dangerous situation. If you unplug the machine, you limit the risk of being cut or hurt.
8. Keep a First Aid Kit on Hand
Make sure you have an adequate first aid kit on your job site before beginning. The kit should be well stocked with items needed to tend to minor cuts and burns. Make sure your first aid kit is up-to-date and close by as you work.
By following these safety tips, you can minimize the risks you face on your job site. Properly venting an area, using adequate and reliable safety equipment, and following directions are some ways you can protect yourself and others.