With the coronavirus leading to unprecedented lockdowns and quarantines across the globe, more people are finding themselves stuck at home. This has led to a rise in people trying their hands at DIY. However, when taking on remodeling jobs at home, it is important to be aware of the risks you’ll come up against. In this post, we look at 5 safety risks when remodeling your home and how you can prevent them.
Why is safety important?
When people work on a construction site, they should receive specialist training about safety and how to manage risk. It is also the employer’s responsibility to ensure the environment they work in meets safety standards. This includes things like safety plans, barriers, training, and ensuring protective equipment is available when necessary. This is so important in the construction industry as 1 in 5 deaths at work happen in this sector.
Unfortunately, when you take up a home remodeling job on your own, you need to think about the health and safety risks yourself. However, just because you are in charge, it doesn’t make it any less important. Indeed, a glance at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) stats can give anyone pause for thought. Fortunately, by following the tips below you can put things in place to mitigate these risks when remodeling at home.
5 home remodeling risks and how to avoid them
Here we outline 5 safety risks you need to look out for when planning on tackling a remodeling job at home. We will also introduce on steps you can take to reduce the risk in each instance:
1.Falls & Slips
Just as falls and slips are the number one cause accident and even death in the construction industry, so they are when it comes to deaths at home. With more than 6,000 lives claimed off the job and at home according to the National Safety Council, and countless more accidents, this is a key safety risk you want to know how to avoid.
The key ways to prevent accidental falls include:
- Ensure your ladder is secured whenever in use.
- If you notice any damage to an extendable ladder, you should throw it away/mark it as clearly not for use.
- Wear appropriate protective gear at all times.
- Wherever possible, only do any remodeling work with someone else around to spot you.
- Install slip-proof surface protectors when remodeling. Throwing down sheets is a classic mistake as these don’t protect well against spills and are a trip hazard.
It is extremely important to consider what sort of dust particles are going to be released into the air when undertaking any remodeling work. Given over half of US homes were built before 1980, asbestos is always a present danger to be aware of. Indeed, if asbestos is present, you should never try and tackle it on your own. Asbestos removal requires specialist protective equipment and training.
Beyond asbestos, however, there are plenty more respiratory concerns you do need to consider. When working with sanding, a face and eye mask should be used with suitable filtration quality. There are also particles like crystalline silica or lead which must not be inhaled. Always make sure you know what you are going to be working with before tackling a remodeling job at home. Without knowing this, you cannot pick a suitable mask and the right protective gear you need to mitigate this risk.
When working with plumbing, most people know to switch off the stopcock. This turns off the water supply to your home and drains your indoor pipes. However, it is easy enough to accidentally strike a water pipe when tackling a home remodeling job if you are not careful. Before you’ve had a chance to turn off the stopcock a burst pipe will happily flood its surroundings.
Hitting a water-pipe is easier than it might sound too. From drilling into it to planting a sledgehammer through one, there are numerous ways to make this mistake. So what is the moral of this story? Well, no matter the job your undertaking, if you are unearthing anything hidden, it is a good idea to switch that stopcock off.
Electrocution is one of the top killers in the construction industry. As such, it is no surprise that when novices give remodeling a try, it is also one of the major killers at home too. Fortunately, just as we have a stopcock for water, we can turn off house power by locating our electrical panel. Flick the power off if you are doing anything where accidentally striking an electrical wire is a possibility.
Whether or not the power is off you should take various steps to reduce risk. If you are thinking of hanging a picture frame, you should always check you are not putting the drill into the wall directly above or below a socket. Their wiring will usually be hidden somewhere in this area and even if you prevent electrocution you won’t want to damage it. You should also use tools with rubber handles and footwear with rubber soles for added protection.
Sometimes after we start down the road of remodeling our own home, we grow in confidence. Sometimes, this can go too far. Indeed, there are certain jobs that we should never tackle at home unless we have had professional training. This includes working with gas and electrics. If anything else, carrying out your own electrical work at home is likely to void your home insurance!
Even as a retired electrician, it is important not to take on these tasks as regulations change annually. When it comes to remodeling at home, there are some risks that are just too great and no amount of preventive measures are worth it. Electrics is one of these areas.
Home remodeling can be fun. However, tackling a job on your own means you need to factor in risk. You should always consider the environment, what you will be working with, and how to mitigate all possible risks before taking on any remodeling job.