19.03.2016 Home Insurance
If you are planning on getting the tools out this weekend to make some home improvements or even just some much needed repairs around the house, it is important to keep safety in mind.
More accidents occur in the home than in any other place and working with tools, climbing up and down ladders and lifting heavy objects can considerably increase the risk of suffering an injury. So we have put together some DIY do’s and don’ts to help you avoid a DIY disaster.
Make sure you are suitably attired before your start any project. Wear protective clothing which is suitable for the job and try to cover as much skin as possible Wear a pair of protective boots and gloves and avoid jewellery or loose fitting clothing which could become snagged or tangled in tools. If you are working with chemicals or in a dusty environment, wear a dust mask or respirator to protect your lungs.
You should always read and follow any instructions included with any of the items you are using. If you are using tools which you are unfamiliar with, carefully read the safety information and retain for future use. When working with chemicals, make sure to follow the recommended safety precautions and know what to do in case of an emergency.
When planning your project, ensure that you have access to all the necessary tools for the job. Only use tools in line with the manufacturers guidelines as using tools for purposes other than they were designed for is potentially dangerous. Before switching on power tools, make sure that they are in good condition and the electrical cables are not tangled or damaged. Any tools which are in poor condition should be discarded and replaced.
Only use a ladder for light jobs which can be completed relatively quickly. Make sure to always place the ladder on a stable and level base. If placing the ladder against a wall, place it at an angle following the 4 to 1 rule; one foot from the wall for every four feet the ladder rises. Use a ladder which is high enough to comfortably complete the job and never overreach or straddle the ladder.
Stocking up on some basic safety equipment can make DIY a whole lot safer. Always keep a fully stocked first aid kit at home in case you do suffer an injury. You should also make sure that you have a working fire extinguisher and fire blanket within easy reach to prevent the risk of fire. Protective eyewear such as goggles should be worn when there is a risk of flying debris or particles and hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs should be used in noisy environments.
Before you start any project, try to estimate how long it will take to complete as accurately as possible. If you are running out of time and there is still work to be done, resist the urge to rush. When you hurry through work, you are much more likely to make a mistake or have an accident. Instead, pack up your tools and finish the work when you have some more free time.
A tidy work environment is a safe work environment so make sure to keep all workspaces clean and free from clutter. Do not leave tools or other items lying on the floor as they can cause a tripping hazard. If you make a spill, clean it up immediately to reduce the risk of a slip. Never place any heavy objects on an unsteady base or above head level as this can cause a falling object hazard.
The electrical current in your house is powerful enough to kill, so never underestimate the power of electricity. Make sure to locate any cables or wiring before drilling holes in a wall. A good quality cable detector can help with this. Before doing any work near electrical wiring or power supplies, shut off the power from the mains. Lastly, if you are unsure about anything, get the advice of a qualified electrician and never attempt to make any electrical repairs yourself.
Always use the services of a fully qualified professional for fitting and servicing gas appliances. You should never attempt to fit or move an appliance yourself. While installing a cooker or fireplace may seem like a straightforward task, a poorly fitted appliance can easily cause a gas leak. When carrying out general home improvements, make sure to locate and avoid gas pipes to reduce the chance of causing a leak. Lastly, be careful not to cover and vents or flues as this will increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If at any time you are unsure about a task, get the help of a qualified professional. Don’t try to take on jobs you are uncomfortable with to save some money. A botched job will not only be more expensive for a professional to fix, but could also cost you your life.
And lastly, before you get the tools out, roll up the sleeves and get stuck into some hard work, make sure that your home insurance policy is adequate and up-to-date. While AIG home insurance can’t reduce the risk of a DIY disaster, it can help you in a whole range of situations including accidental, fire, smoke, and water damage. To see the full list of benefits, visit our home insurance page or get a quote now.