Safety Tips Every DIYer Should Know
Stats show that do-it-yourselfers are no strangers to the emergency room. Here's how to avoid being a casualty
The ability to tile a tub surround, replace an outlet, or fix a drooping gutter on your own may leave you feeling invincible. But being a whiz in the workshop doesn't exclude you from the reality that two of every 10 homeowners who tackle a DIY project this year will wind up injured. Before you pick up any more tools—power or otherwise—take note of the following tips.
More than 50,000 people lose part or all of their vision from ocular injuries each year, 90 percent of which could have been prevented by protective eyewear. Make sure your pair is impact resistant, has a UV coating, and, most important, fits securely on your face.
We recommend: 3M TEKK Protection Classic Series with Tortoise Frame, $7; Ace Hardware
A typical lawn mower hits about 107 decibels, a power saw, 110—safe for just 15 minutes before you risk hearing damage. To protect yourself, look for earmuffs or reusable plugs that block out noise above 85 decibels.
We recommend: 3M Digital WorkTunes Earmuffs with AM/FM stereo, $60; Northern Tool + Equipment
Inhaling dust and small particles can lead to asthma and other respiratory issues. A basic paper mask will do the trick for most jobs, but if your safety glasses fog up as you breathe, upgrade to a mask with a valve that lets air escape when you exhale.
We recommend: Safety Works Harmful Dust N95 Respirator with Exhalation Valve, $6; Amazon
Your hands are your most valuable and adaptable tool, but when you use a power saw, they should never take the place of clamps or locking pliers. One slip and you could become one of the 4,000 Americans each year who chop off a digit or even a hand.
We also recommend: Milwaukee Job Site Armor Contractor Work Gloves, $21; Ace Tool
Don't "daisy chain" or link extension cords together. And make sure to follow the guidelines in your tool's instruction manual for cord length and gauge.
You'd never sidle up to the table saw after drinking, but research shows being tired can prove just as dangerous. In fact, if
you wake up at 7 a.m., working past midnight is the safety equivalent of a .05 blood alcohol level—enough to slow your reaction time by half.
Know who you'll call in an emergency, and keep a working phone and numbers for poison control (800-222-1222) and your doctor at the ready.
We recommend: Nexcare Waterproof Clear Bandages $4.50 for 20; Drugstore.com