Renovating your home offers up a challenging yet mightily rewarding task. A home renovation can mean anything from giving the living room walls a lick of paint through to a yearlong overhaul of a tired property, but one thing that’s consistent, regardless of the work you’re doing, is the presence of health and safety risks in whatever you’re doing.
No matter what job you’re taking on in a home makeover, you could be at risk of one or more of the following:
- Tripping, slipping and falling
- Falling from a height (including ladders and chairs)
- Equipment related injuries
- Electric shocks
- Exposure to harmful chemicals and debris (gases, paints, fumes and dust)
None of these things are particularly good for your health, so what can be done to avoid them and complete your project successfully and safely? Here are three simple things to remember.
Think about your poor joints
“Lift with your knees, not with your back.”
We’re all familiar with that classic bit of H&S advice, and most of us are likely comfortable with ignoring it anyway. Bad posture and generally poor treatment of our joints during rigorous processes is something you can usually get away with when you’re young, but keep testing yourself with things like bad lifting form and you’ll probably find out sooner or later why it’s not a good idea.
With that in mind, try to consciously consider your body when working in certain environments or positions for a long period of time. Do your best to lift things “by the book”, wear knee pads when working on your knees for extended periods and think about how to prevent and relieve and muscular tension that can be created by strenuous renovation work.
Make sure your environment is secure
If you’re planning on knocking through a wall, you’d best check it’s not a load bearing one first. Likewise, if you’re working up in an old loft, your first thought should be to carefully check the area for any weak flooring or protruding, sharp objects. After all, the last thing you want is your foot going through the floorboards or half the house coming down with the wall you’re taking out.
A secure environment also extends to working in a tidy space, ensuring your working area is clutter free and regularly cleaned to limit the risk of trips and falls. It will also remove excess dust and debris from the air if you’re creating a lot of mess.
Be realistic in your abilities
One of the reasons people take on big renovation projects themselves is to add value to their property without spending too much money in the process. Because of this, it can be tempting to go it alone when it comes to a challenging job, but understanding your limits in this regard is a huge factor in keeping you safe.
For example, if you’re not an electrician and have no prior experience of handling electrics, you’re probably not best placed to rewire the house. Likewise, if you accidentally burst a pipe while going through a wall or floor and don’t know how to fix it, it’s almost certainly not the time to try and find out.
Knowing when to call in the professionals for certain jobs will not only keep you safe, but even potentially save you money by protecting you from causing an expensive mess. So, make sure you value your health and wellbeing as much as you value your property.
Home renovations come in all different shapes and sizes, as do the health and safety risks that come with them. If you’re about to start a new home DIY project, make sure you approach it with a safety-first mindset, and a good dollop of common sense.