Renovating your home can be an exciting process filled with all sorts of events, some good – come on, who does not like smashing walls with a big sledgehammer -, and some not so good – do not be so hard on yourself, even the greatest of handymen smash their fingers with the hammer sometimes. But whether you are doing minor touch-ups like repainting the walls or redoing entire sections of the house, the most important thing to do, even more so than the project itself, is ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you. For this purpose, we have decided to compile a small list of safety precautions that will prevent any accidents from occurring. Here is how to protect yourself when starting a renovation project.
Make Sure You Have the Right Gear
The first thing you will need to consider in terms of safety is getting the right gear. The primary purpose of safety gear is to protect yourself in situations when you are at risk of injury – when you are cutting boards or working with risky chemicals, for example.
The first item on your list should be a sturdy pair of work boots with composite toes. Sure, we realize that nobody is irresponsible enough to handle construction materials in their slippers or flip-flops. Many people opt for a pair of sneakers, which is not indicated for several reasons, mainly the fact that sneakers are not capable of protecting the feet from blows or heavy falling objects. This is why we highly recommend work boots equipped with composite toes.
Composite toes are quickly becoming the industry norm, as opposed to steel toes, which have been gradually phased out due to their tendency of causing more harm than good. Composite toes are made out non-metal materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, plastic and in some cases Kevlar. Learn more about what are composite toe boots in order to know how to choose the right ones for you.
Other equally important safety items are as follows:
- Safety glasses – protects against debris and dust particles.
- Dust masks – prevents accidental inhalation of debris and dangerous asbestos particles.
- Hard hats, for obvious reasons
- Knee pads – especially important when the work involves friction against certain surfaces, such as flooring, tiling and sandpapering.
- Earplugs and earmuffs – loud noises can cause long-term damage, and the risk is directly proportional with the duration of the project.
Learn How to Lift Heavy Objects
It is no secret that any sort of major project involves a lot of heavy lifting. To protect yourself against the risk of ending up with a back injury, you should learn how to lift objects properly. Instead of the standard, but highly dangerous ‘’lean over and pick the object up’’ shtick, you should bend your knees, squat, grab the object and straighten your legs gradually while keeping the object close to your body.
Keep All Tools Neatly Organized and Out of Reach
As obvious at this step might seem, chances are you might get sick of going back and forth between the worksite and the storage area to pick something up and make a huge pile of tools nearby. This is not only counterproductive, but highly-dangerous, especially if there are kids around (and we all know how curious they can get).
For this reason, be sure to keep all the tools, especially the power ones, in a safe storage space, preferably locked with a key. If having the tools in the open is unavoidable, the least you can do is unplugging them and removing the batteries once you are done using them.
Keep the Worksite Clean
As tempting as it might be to throw the tools on the ground and call it a day, you should do your due diligence and clean up the construction area, especially if a good chunk of the renovations take place indoors. You would be surprised how much stuff can end up hurting you or your family – stepping in random nails sitting on the floor, tripping over a board, scratching yourself on a rough surface, and so on and so forth. The simplest way to prevent this is by making sure the floor is clear of any debris, to the point where the worksite looks as if the renovation project has not even started it.
Learn How to Use Ladders Safely
At this point, you might be wondering how hard it could be to use a ladder – you just prop it against the wall and go to town, right? Well, yes, but ladder safety precautions are related more to the dangers around the ladder than the object itself. Here are a few safety guidelines:
- Always respect the weight restrictions written in the ladder’s guidebook.
- Clear the floor around the ladder for any wires, tools, debris, or any substances that can make the floor slippery.
- Never wear heels and sandals while climbing the ladder.
- Analyze the structural integrity of the ladder before using it. You do not want it to crackle under the weight of yourself and your equipment (because chances are, you might need to bring a thing or two up there).
Be Careful with Lead Paint
Since lead paint has been banned in 1978, all houses built after that point should be technically lead-free. However, if your house was constructed during that period or right after, it might have traces of lead paint. Since lead is extremely dangerous, our recommendation is to send a sample to a lab or call a certified inspector.
Renovating your house can be an exciting time, but this does not mean you should not take the necessary safety precautions. By learning how to use ladders safely and lift objects, keeping the worksite clean and using the proper gear, you can decrease the risk of injury by a significant margin.