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Safe DIY

General

  • Always maintain a clean and tidy work area. Tools and materials strewn across the ground can cause accidents.
  • Always wear safety goggles when carrying out work that could cause flying debris.
  • When using tools and materials unfamiliar to you, read the instructions carefully. If you are not sure of the correct method of operation or procedure to follow, consult the manufacturer or supplier - they will be only too glad to help.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke when handling or mixing materials, such as Cement. Wash your hands thoroughly before eating.
  • Tools and materials should be safely stored out of the reach of children.
  • Keep a basic first aid kit near at hand for the treatment of minor cuts and grazes etc.
  • Don't rush, as you're more likely to have an accident. Carefully plan the job before you start work. Know your limitations and consult a professional if you are unsure. It's also a good idea to ask someone if they can help you.

Tools

  • A toolbox can be dangerous if not kept tidy. A tidy toolbox makes it easier to find the tool you require quickly as well as reducing the risk of an accident.
  • Many tools have sharp blades, so ensure you know how to use them safely.
  • Tools with sharp blades such as saws and chisels should have guards fitted to the blades when not in use.
  • Never use broken tools - replace them.
  • When buying tools ensure they meet the British or European standard (look for a CE mark or a Kitemark).
  • Always use the correct tools for the job. It is always worth investing in high quality equipment as this will be safer and will probably do the job quicker.
  • Store tools in a safe place, out of the way of children and pets. Keep them in a box or a rack.
  • When using a power drill, choose a model that has a plastic non-conducting body. Unplug the drill before fitting parts and remove the chuck key before switching it on.
  • Use an RCD (available from any DIY store), with power tools to prevent the risk of electric shocks.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewellery, which could get caught in power tools.

Heights

  • If working from a platform ensure it is erected properly on firm stable ground.
  • Ladders are one of the main causes of DIY accidents. Erect the ladder according to the manufacturer's instructions. Never lean to one side as you could lose balance.
  • Whenever possible get someone to hold the ladder for you when you are working.

Hazardous Materials

  • Some materials used in DIY can give off harmful fumes. Read the label before proceeding, so that you know how to use the material safely and are aware of what action to take in the event of an accident. Follow the recommendations for working in a well-ventilated area and use a disposable repository mask if advised.
  • Do not dispose of unwanted chemicals or solvents down the drain.
  • Wear protective clothing including safety goggles, gloves and dust mask. When working with potentially hazardous materials it is advisable to wear a mask, also wear a mask when working in a dusty environment.