So you’ve decided to tackle a new DIY project. You cement your plans, get all the tools you need and are almost ready to begin work. However, there are some important safety and awareness tips to keep in mind, to ensure that you do not damage any of the surrounding areas or yourself when you begin your home improvement project.
- It is important to use safety goggles at all times, particularly when scraping, wire brushing or sanding. You need to protect your eyes from particles of old paint, dust or rust. Should you be using a chemical stripper, it is imperative that you use safety goggles as well as protective gloves.
- If your project will result in a lot of dust in the air, then it is important that you use a face mask. This mask should also be used if you will be painting or using strong chemicals in an area where the ventilation is not adequate.
- Beware of loose clothing, drooping sleeves, jewellery and hair that is not tied up. Depending on the tools you will be using, these things can get stuck in certain tools, presenting a hazard.
- If you are going to use a ladder, practice caution at all times. The ladder must be strong and sturdy and should always be put on an even surface with its cross braces locked in place. If the ground is uneven or soft, place a plank or paving stone under each foot of the ladder. Never reach too far outwards – if you are having difficulty reaching a spot, get down and move the ladder rather than leaning over. It is always safest to have someone hold the ladder for you whilst you are on it, especially if you need to stand on the top rungs.
- Turn the electricity in the house off if you are going to be working on power plugs, light switch covers and anything else electrical. Use a voltage metre to ensure that whatever you are planning to repair is not still receiving any electrical current.
- If you are going to use solvent-based paints then you must ensure that the room is well ventilated at all times by opening all windows and doors. If you cannot ventilate the area you will be painting, then you must wear a gas mask and do not let the freshly painted room be occupied, particularly by seniors, children or pets, until the fumes have been dissipated thoroughly. It is best to steer clear of lead-based paints, particularly when painting nurseries, toys and children’s furniture. Speak to your local hardware store to find out about the best paints to use for certain rooms.
- Protect floors and furniture with drop sheets to ensure no damage or stains. Be cautious when using plastic drop sheet as this can be very slippery.
- Ensure that you clean up very carefully and thoroughly at the end of each day. If there are any rags that have paint or solvent on them, leave them to dry outside in a safe place to avoid spontaneous combustion. Once they are thoroughly dry, dispose of them safely. Make sure that all disposed of elements are safe from reach of children and pets.
As with anything of this nature, if you don’t feel comfortable tackling the project entirely on your own, or if there are complicated elements to your DIY project that you are uncertain about doing, then contact your local handyman to assist you.