DIY safety

If you are about to embark on a DIY project it's essential that you take the proper safety precautions first. Here are some tips to help your home improvements go smoothly and safely

DIY safety tips

  • Store tools in a safe place, out of the way of children and pets; keep them in a box or a rack

  • When using knives, always cut away from you, use a baton as a guide and run a sharp knife along the edge of it

  • Always store knives securely

  • Always use the correct tools for the job - it is worth investing in high quality equipment as this will be safer and will probably do the job quicker

  • Ladders are one of the main causes of DIY accidents - erect the ladder according to the manufacturer's instructions

  • When on a ladder never lean to one side as you could lose balance

  • When painting, or using any material that generates toxic fumes or dust, keep the room well ventilated; never smoke while painting or standing close to a freshly painted area

  • Always keep a chemical fire extinguisher in the house

  • Never use water to put out a fire in an electrical appliance

  • Gas and electrical work is best left to a registered professional

  • When using a power drill, choose a model that has a plastic non-conducting body - unplug the drill before fitting parts and remove the chuck key before switching it on; avoid wearing loose clothing or jewellery which could get caught in the drill

  • Don't rush as you're more likely to have an accident - carefully plan the job before you start work; know your limitations and consult a professional if you are unsure - it's also a good idea to ask someone if they can help you

  • Take extra care when removing artex or textured paint from walls as these materials may contain asbestos - safety precautions must be followed when handling and disposing of asbestos, contact your local environmental health department for advice

  • Wear protective clothing including safety goggles, gloves and dust mask when working with potentially hazardous materials such as glass or spray paint and it's also advisable to wear a mask when working in a dusty environment e.g. sawing wood or MDF

  • When fixing or checking electrical appliances or connections, always switch off the power and remove the fuse or circuit breaker (MCB); if you're fixing an electrical appliance, switch off the appliance at the socket and pull out the plug; wear rubber-soled shoes when working on electrics

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