No matter the project, whether you just purchased a home, you’re working to get your home in shape to sell, or you’re tackling that project you have been looking forward to completing, safety has to be the top priority. There is not doubt that not only can these Do it Yourself projects increase your skill set but ultimately, save you money, time, and give you something to be proud of. Regardless of what your next DIY project is, it’s important to always be as prepared as possible. This doesn’t only apply to having the proper tools, but ultimately having everything aligned to encourage a safe work zone.
Accidents tend to occur the most within the home as your eagerness, overconfidence, and possible lack of experience with power tools, sharp blades, toxic materials, ladders, etc. can contribute to simple mistakes that can land you in a dangerous situation. Be sure to protect your investment and your health by following some simple DIY safety tips outlined below.
Always Protect Yourself
During these times, we have all had to familiarize ourselves with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Utilizing a face mask protects your lungs from dust particles, ear plugs protect your hearing from over exposure to loud noise, and gloves protect your hands while handling sharp objects, and don’t forget your eyes! Ensuring you have some kind of face shield while welding, grinding, or even just protective glasses will protect you in the event of an accident. Another important thing to keep in mind while working on your projects is the clothing you choose to wear! Be thoughtful to not wear baggy clothing that could get caught in tools and be sure to throw all clothing away that has come in contact with toxic materials, as laundering them will not guarantee they are clear of the hazards. Lastly, be thoughtful of your shoe choice. Wearing a pair of boots or closed-toed shoes could be a game changer versus wearing flip-flops or open-toed shoes that expose you to sharp or heavy objects.
Read and Follow the Instructions
Be sure to always take a look at your project’s instructions and map out the warnings or potential hazards. Even if you have worked on a project like this previously, never assume you shouldn't re-read the instructions to encourage a seamless installation. Familiarizing yourself with an operation manual for tools or hazardous materials you don't have experience with can protect your from potential dangers.
Use Your Tools Correctly
One of the most common mishaps we hear about at Bridger Steel deals with using tools incorrectly. A common mistake is rushing and not clamping the sheet metal down. The bit can get hung up on that and twist the metal around, putting you at risk for potentially getting cut. It’s also easy to forget about a tool on top of a ladder, and go to walk away with it. That forgotten tool can fall, possibly injuring you or others if you are not wearing protective equipment. Sometimes, the comfort of home can come with distractions, so it’s always extremely important to double check that your ladder is on a solid surface, your tools are properly stored in good condition, and you’re operating them under the specified guidelines within the manufacturer’s operations manual.
Be Prepared for an Emergency
Recently, our friends went camping for Memorial Day and a child was injured around a camp fire. Not one of the couples had an emergency kit on hand to treat the child. Ultimately, the family left early to get items to treat the wound. Assessing the project and potential risks or injuries before starting it will help keep you on guard and be prepared. Be sure to always have a fully-stocked emergency kit, as well as an emergency contact, on hand. Be extra prepared by having a fire-extinguisher on hand or even a fire blanket can help in case of an electrical fire or sparks from tools falling on potential hazards. Double checking the expiration date on your extinguisher and ensuring that it is fully operational prior to starting your project is another best practice.
Bottom line, no matter the project or task at hand, prioritize your safety first. Keep in mind if you are rushing, neglecting electricity, messing with gas. All of which are risks that will lead to potential harm to yourself or others. If you are ever in doubt about your ability to DIY a project, be sure to contact a professional to be informed and stay safe. You can also talk to one of our Product Specialists for even more tips and tricks on how to stay safe and protect yourself at home when completing DIY projects.
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