What is the difference between chiselling up a tiled floor at home or doing the same thing at work? Aside from the fact that workplaces are governed by health and safety legislation and our DIY projects at home aren’t – is there a difference? Will a chip of projectile tile pose the risk of cuts or eye injuries in the home, just as it does at work? Of course, it will. The home is clearly a different environment to the workplace but essentially a lot of these tasks pose the same risks.
Why is it then, that generally (and I say generally because I know that some people are very good at this) less care is taken in the home, particularly when it comes to wearing PPE. What makes us think that we don’t need those safety goggles at home when we would certainly be using them to do the same job at work.
In December 2019, a national newspaper reported that close to 300 people a week make a trip to A and E as a result of a DIY accident. There are many things that we can do to reduce the risks of these accidents. Many of these things would be second nature at work. Why then do we not act the same way in our homes. Complacency? Maybe. Denial? Arguable.
Just taking a bit more time to think about and plan what we are doing can make the difference between sitting down for a cup of tea and admiring your handywork versus sitting in the A and E waiting room, waiting your turn.
So, what things can we do in the home to reduce accidents?
- Use the right equipment and make sure that equipment is well maintained and cleaned.
- Keep children and pets away from equipment, products and areas in which you are working
- Read the labels – if the equipment says that you need to wear eye protection – wear it!
- Make sure you have the right height access equipment, if the work is above ground level.
- Know your limits – there will always be things that we can’t do ourselves and will need to enlist the help of a qualified competent person.
- Dress appropriately – flip flops are great for summer, but not when constructing a shed!
- Wear protective equipment when needed.
- Keep products in their containers and keep them away from children and pets.
A lot of this is common sense but taking the time to think about what we are doing and making sure that the right things in place could just stop that accident from happening.
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