When you’re remodeling your home, safety equipment probably doesn’t stoke the fires of your enthusiasm the way that fresh lumber and paint do. However, nothing will douse the embers of your home makeover inspiration faster than an accident or injury. To prevent mishaps, first anticipate them, and then outfit yourself and your crew with the right tools and safety gear.
Barriers to Restrict Access
A remodeling project turns your home into a construction site, and construction sites are fascinating places. Unless off limits areas are clearly demarcated, children and guests in your home are likely to go exploring without your permission. Yellow “caution” tape is often enough to dissuade responsible adults from venturing into unsafe zones. Children however, need firmer boundaries, like high fences or locked doors.
Eye and Face Protection
Potential remodeling hazards to your eyesight range from flying debris and dust, to chemical splatters. Since all of these have to potential to cause devastating eye injury, eye protection should be worn for just about every home remodeling project. The more of your face that’s covered, the less chance there is of debris or chemicals getting around the edges and into your eyes. For grinding and sawing tasks, or dealing with caustic or corrosive chemicals for instance, a full face protector is a good idea
Dust Masks and Respirators
Grabbing a pack of dust masks in the paint supply row of your home improvement store is simple enough. However, a common dust mask does not necessarily provide the breathing protection you need. In addition to plain dust, serious breathing hazards you encounter during remodeling might include volatile organic fumes, asbestos, mold and even rodent droppings. For some of these, a dust mask provides no protection at all. Also, in order for your breathing protection to do you any good, it must fit right. Read recommended use and fit instructions carefully, and then follow them. If you’re at all uncertain about selecting a breathing safety device, consult somebody who knows about dust masks and respirators. Often, a resident expert in your home improvement store can help you.
If you’re working with paint or solvents, you need to ventilate your work area Open doors and windows may not provide insufficient ventilation, so also use a fan made specifically for ventilating work spaces.
Ladder Safety and Fall Prevention
Get the right ladder for your remodeling job–do not modify the structure of a ladder to try to make it fit your purposes. Use a ladder that’s tall enough–if you must stretch or reach beyond your center of gravity, you’re likely to fall. Keeping this in mind, the uppermost rung that’s safe to use will usually be marked “Do not stand on or above this step”, so don’t. If you are going to place the ladder on uneven ground, you need a ladder with adjustable legs. Also, because of electrocution danger, a metal ladder should never be used while working near exposed electrical circuits–use a fiberglass ladder instead. Once you’ve ascended the ladder, if your lofty work perch is precarious, anchor yourself to something solid using a tethers and clips designed for this purpose.
All sounds above 85 decibels contribute to hearing loss, and hearing loss is cumulative; you may not notice it until years later. So, if you think for instance, that since you’re only using your noisy circular saw for a couple minutes, you can safely skip wearing hearing protection, you’re wrong. Disposable noise reducing earplugs are inexpensive and easy to get at home improvement stores or drug stores. Restoring your good hearing on the other hand, is usually not possible.
During your remodeling adventure, you’re eventually bound to drop something on your toes or feet. Heavy objects like cans of paint, lumber or even just a hammer, can break a toe or two. In addition to physical discomfort, you’ll suffer project delays. A pair of steel toed boots will prevent all of that. Most protective boots will also save the skin on your feet from harmful chemicals in the event of a spill. You can get inexpensive protective footwear at many discount shoe stores.
Electrocution Prevention Equipment
Switching out a light switch or a duplex outlet is easy. And it’s also easy to forget to shut off the electricity. Then, even if the electricity has been shut off, what’s to prevent another household member from flipping the circuit back on? Lock-out and tag out devices will alert other people that you’re working on the circuit and keep your circuit breakers in the “off” position until you’re ready to power up again. The principles of lock-out and tag-out apply to all electrical work. “Hot” electrical work-work done on a live circuit-is not appropriate for the do-it-yourself-er. And if your contractor insists on working on live circuits, get a second expert opinion before allowing this on your home remodeling project.
Don’t just blindly believe contractors in such serious matters as they have little knowledge about anything other than their contracts so do consult companies like Makita before acting out. For more info, do see Impact Driver Guide online for prevention of mishaps like electrocution.
When you’re working on anything above your head, the possibility of something falling on you is real. Hard hats prevent head and neck injuries, so it pays to pick up a few for every member of your remodeling team. It takes a short while to get used to wearing a hard hat, but those who wear them regularly report feeling naked on the construction site without one.