How To Stay Safe While Remodeling Your Home

Every homeowner at one time or another performs minor or major repair on his/her house.  Even with the simplest, most casual repair-and-replace jobs, safety should be your number one concern.  Here are a handful of things to keep in mind:

Unless you are building a sand castle at your local beach, never wear open-toe shoes.  Constructions boots are big and bulky for a reason:  They protect your feet!  If you don’t own construction boots, a solid pair of hiking boots is a decent substitute.

Always protect your eyes!  Metal or wood fragments, dust, chemicals and solvents can damage an eye much quicker than most people realize.  Safety goggles are cheap to purchase and available at every hardware store.  And select a pair that has a small shield on either side of each lens or buy the type that fits tight to your face and performs a seal against your skin.

Gloves – keep your hands pretty!  Protecting them is easily accomplished with a cheap set of cotton gloves.  If you need to handle small objects, purchase a pair of tight-fitting latex gloves.  If you are working with an open flame, purchase heavy-duty gloves.

Tie up loose hair!  Loose clothing and long hair have killed many construction workers.  It obscures your view and is all too easy to get either caught in power equipment.  Wear snug-fitting but comfortable clothing and keep that hair out of the way.

Let there be light!  Weak lighting is another precursor to accidents. Make sure your work environment is well-lit.  Purchase construction floodlights, if necessary.  They are easy to buy and not expensive.

Masks – Working with chemicals?  Always wear a mask!  They come in a large variety of shapes and sizes.  There are respirator masks, chemical ventilation masks, “splash guard” face shields, gas masks and an entire line created for specific uses.  The average home repair job probably won’t require you to wear one of the heavy-duty variety, but you should definitely invest in a light, throwaway cotton mask.

Ventilation – This is particularly important if you are working with chemicals.  Open nearby windows and doors before you start soldering or using toxic substances.  Take a break every few minutes for some fresh air.  Set up an oscillating fan if necessary.  You can become light-headed or even faint in a matter of minutes when exposed to many chemicals, and prolonged exposure can lead to long-term injuries.

Be careful on ladders, and never work from the top rung.  The majority of accidents occur while working on a simple six-foot ladder.  If a mishap occurs, it happens so fast that there is little time to react.  Any equipment in your hands is very likely to slam into your body or your face on the way down.

These are just the primary incidents that can turn a simple repair job into a major disaster, and the more complex the job, the more circumstance for accidents to occur.  Working on do-it-yourself projects around the house is not a time to cut corners or cost, or to allow your vanity to stand in the way of keeping yourself safe.  The philosophy of “It’ll just take a minute” or “People will think I’m a wimp if I wear a mask or safety glasses” has been the undoing of more than a few do-it-yourselfers.  Stay safe, and live to tackle more repair jobs another day.

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