How to Safely Perform Home Improvement Projects
With so many resources on the internet and many of us spending more time at our homes, do-it-yourself home improvement has become a growing hobby for many and a necessity for those of us on a budget! That said, with all the online tutorials available, many novices may be trying out techniques without knowledge of safety measures that experts have developed over time. If you are ready to try your hand at repairs, remodeling, or other projects around the house, make sure to read through these important safety tips before you begin.
Creating a Safe Work Environment
Before you begin your project, verify that the area you are working in is secure and clean. Clear out any hazards that could cause someone to trip and fall and check with your utility company about underground lines that could be disrupted by any work you plan to do beneath the surface. Having an organized system for storing tools and materials is essential to protect yourself and anyone who might pass through the work area from injury or harm, especially children. Make sure to include an easy to access first aid kit stocked for taking care of cuts and scrapes, as well as a phone with the number of people to call for help if needed. Before beginning an outdoor project, and as you continue working, track any weather patterns. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of a severe storm mid-project. Be prepared for the unexpected by having a tarp on hand that is large enough to cover any exposed and unfinished project.
Precautions for High-Level Jobs
When dealing with gutters, painting, extensions, and other exterior work, you will most likely need something to give you some height. For a quick light bulb change or checking the gutter for leaves, a ladder can do the job. An extension ladder can also be used to access your roof. Make sure the surface below the ladder is flat and stable and always keep your weight centered between the rails. That said, for many jobs that require accessing the upper half of your home’s exterior, buying or renting scaffolding can make your project both safer and faster.
By using scaffolding, you will provide yourself a stable wide base for you to stand and work from. Without having to balance your weight on a small rung, you can access broader areas of your project at a time safely. To create even more workspace, safe way scaffolding with walkthrough frames will allow access to over 10 feet of wall area. This way you can pass through the scaffolding easily and safely. As with ladders, you will want to make sure that the base for your scaffolding is solid and level. Make sure to use OSHA wood scaffold boards for your work surface as ordinary boards are not as strong. Always check that scaffolding is evenly resting on all four of its bases before climbing, and make sure to always use the ladder and not cross braces to reach your platform. If you opt for the convenience of using scaffolding with wheels, make sure no tools are on the platform before rolling it and watch for power lines. Take care to always lock the casters before climbing. More information on working with scaffolding safely can be found here.
Each tool comes with its own set of instructions and safety protocols. Especially when using power tools, read and follow instructions carefully, and avoid any impulses to just follow your intuition. Always properly store tools when they are not in use; power tools should never be left plugged in unattended. Speaking of cords, make sure to check them for frayed or broken casings before using, and when you do unplug, grasp the cord at the plug and not the wire.
Whether you are a seasoned contractor or a first-time house painter, starting with some basic safety measures will give you extra confidence moving into a project and help guarantee that you reach its fulfillment. While some things you will have to learn on the job, having the right tools and the right information can make a huge difference not only in keeping you and those around you safe but also in the quality of your project.
About The Author: Maggie graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in communication and writing. In her spare time, she loves to dance, read, and bake. She also enjoys traveling and scouting out new brunch locations.
Photo by ronix tools on Unsplash
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