Towards the end of last year, South African newspapers reported that a man from Durban in KwaZulu Natal died after plunging six meters from a roof. It appears that the man, who was apparently doing repairs to his roof, lost his balance and fell to the ground below. When paramedics arrived on the scene, they found the man to be in a critical condition. As they tried to stabilise him, the patient went into cardiac arrest, and despite resuscitation attempts, he was declared dead on the scene. While not all accidents can be prevented, taking the utmost of care when engaged in DIY tasks around the house can reduce the risk of tragic accidents such as these from occurring.
Use ladders with care
Ladders are the cause of many DIY injuries, which is why they need to be used with the utmost care and respect. When using a ladder, always make sure it is placed on a level, stable, and non-slip surface. Always make sure three parts of your body is in contact with the ladder at all times – i.e. both hands or one foot, or both feet and one hand. When opening an A-frame ladder, make sure that all locks are secured. Make a point of never standing on the top two rungs of a ladder, and never place a ladder in front of any door. If this can’t be avoided, make sure the door is locked before positioning your ladder.
Use the right tools and equipment
If you do not want to become a home DIY injury statistic, it is essential to use the right tools and equipment for the job. Before starting a DIY project, always ensure you have the right tools for the job and know how to use them. This is particularly important when it comes to power tools such as grinders, table saws, nail guns, and power drills.
Better safe than sorry
Apart from making sure you know how to safely use a tool, also follow basic safety protocol, which involves avoiding damp conditions and taking off any loose-fitting clothes that can get caught in the moving parts of the tool. While power tools can hurt you when operated incorrectly, it is also important to ensure that you use the correct screws, nails, hinges and bolts for a particular job. Using wood screws instead of decking screws to secure the pieces of your deck together, can, for instance, cause serious industry when your newly-built deck collapses as soon as you set foot on it.
The speed at which you work is important too. When you are rushing to complete a task your injury risk increases significantly. Put time aside to plan each task carefully, and be aware of your own DIY limitations. If you are unsure of how to do something, call on the professionals to assist. It is equally as important to never climb ladders or use power tools when you are tired, sick, or under the influence of alcohol or medication.
DIY home renovations can pose a great injury risk. If you don’t want to become an accident statistic, it is essential to follow basic safety protocol at all times.
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