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The TOH TV Crew's Job-Site Safety Pet Peeves

Dangerous habits they spot on the job site and how to quit them

Job-Site Safety in Practice

Long hours clocked remodeling old homes and tackling miscellaneous DIYs have led crewmembers of This Old House and Ask This Old House to some disturbing observations when it comes to safety measures. Small oversights when working with powerful tools and equipment can mean a trip to the emergency room, or worse. So step into your safety chaps, (more on those later), and read on for "you're doing it wrong" revelations and how to change your bad practices.

Kevin O'Connor's Pet Peeve: Skipping Hearing Protection

The safety mistake: Working around loud equipment and forgetting hearing protection can result in hearing loss.

The fix: You require hearing protection if you must shout to be heard by someone standing an arm's length away. Learn how big earmuffs aren't always better with Kevin's hearing protection tips from a recent episode of AskTOH.

Tom Silva's Pet Peeve: Misusing Extension Ladders

The safety mistake: Using extension ladders backwards or failing to use their leveling legs can lead to an unsteady ladder and dangerous accidents or even death. (More than 150,000 people a year end up in the emergency room from ladder accidents.)

The fix: When using an extension ladder to transition from ladder to roof, the ladder should be tied off to the gutter so that it doesn't move and should be 3 feet above the edge of the roof to give a place to grab. Watch Tom's ladder safety tips for several types of ladders.

Richard Trethewey's Pet Peeve: Forgetting a Heat Shield

The safety mistake: Forgoing a flame guard while soldering around wood and other flammable materials can start a property-damaging fire.

The fix: Place a heat shield between wood joists or other flammable objects and your soldering work area. Watch Richard's soldering demonstration and safety tips.

Roger Cook's Pet Peeve: Lacking Chainsaw Safety Chaps

The safety mistake: Operating a chainsaw without wearing safety chaps can lead to serious injury. (One third of all chainsaw injuries happen to the leg.)

The fix: Always wear safety glasses, a face shield, earplugs, gloves, heavy boots, and chainsaw safety chaps made out of ballistic nylon. The material causes a jamming effect if the chainsaw comes in contact. Watch chainsaw expert Tim Ard and Roger's chainsaw safety tips.