How to prevent DIY injuries
Renovating our home can be incredibly rewarding – not to mention cost-saving – if we do it ourselves but undertaking a DIY project isn’t without its dangers.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), roughly 3,300 Australians aged 15 or older were hospitalised in 2013–14 as a result of a DIY injury – a rate of 13 cases per 100,000 – due to a fall or contact with tools and machinery.
The rate of injury for males aged 15 or older was 22 per 100,000 males, while for females aged 15 or older, it was five per 100,000 females. The rate for DIY fall injuries was seven cases per 100,000 population aged 15 or older (11 per 100,000 males and three per 100,000 females).
For DIY injuries related to tools and machinery, AIHW said the rate was six per 100,000 population aged 15 or older (11 per 100,000 males and two per 100,000 females).
Ladder Safety Matters
Falling off a ladder is reported to be the most common cause of DIY injuries, with a large chunk of these occurring in or around the home. With ladder related injuries among men aged 65 years and older steadily increasing in Australia, a national education campaign called ‘Ladder safety matters’ encourages older male members of the DIY community to stop and think before they step up on the first rung.
Regardless of your age or gender, these campaign safety tips will definitely reduce the risk of injury:
- Choose the right ladder for the job
- Don’t work in wet or windy conditions
- Take time to set up your ladder
- Work safely up the ladder
- Have another person hold the ladder
- Know your limits and work to your ability
How to avoid DIY injury
While it’s virtually impossible to guarantee personal safety during DIY renovations, you can significantly increase your chances of avoiding injuries with a little patience, commonsense, preparation, and caution.
Some quick and easy safety tips to remember:
- Have work gloves, a hard hat, safety goggles, face mask and ear plugs on hand so you have the right gear for the right job. Steel-capped boots are also a smarter option than your favourite sneakers
- When using saws and blades, always make cutting movements away from your body
- Remember to bend from your knees and keep your back straight when picking up heavy objects
- Do a few warm up exercises before you begin so that your muscles are ready to go
- Carry smaller loads to take the pressure off your joints and muscles
- Avoiding roofing jobs altogether – the risk is too great
- Keep your workspace clean and tidy
- Take your time and take regular breaks
DIY projects can be a satisfying experience, but they can also be risky endeavours. Make sure safety is top-of-mind by avoiding shortcuts, following instructions, and knowing when it’s time to consult an expert.