If you’re looking to avoid hazards at home and get the most out of your DIY or renovation project, I commend you for your commitment to safety. For most people, DIY projects can seem daunting, but with care and practice your projects can be as good as those done by a professional. Whether you’re painting your bathroom or building a new kitchen table, keeping these simple tips in mind may maximize your efficiency and cut back on safety risks.
Hazards at Home
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If you’ve been a reader for a while, you may be aware of my battle with cancer. Cancer has given me a new sense of awareness. Besides realizing what’s really important in life, surviving cancer made me more conscientious of the environment. I am more careful about what I eat, breathe, and apply to my skin. As a full time college professor, I educate future health care professionals. My educational background and my history of cancer, has turned health into one of my greatest passions.
When I was approached to share this article and create awareness to avoid cancer-causing hazards at home, I could not pass up the opportunity to spread the word. So, today, my tutorial for you involves teaching you ways to stay safe at home while you enjoy those DIY projects.
6 Home Safety Hazards to be aware of while DIY-ing
Everyone is aware of toxins like ammonia and chlorine added in cleaning products. Though we’ve all learned how to safely use or avoid them, the danger doesn’t stop there. There are other toxins in your home you may not be aware of.
A common household toxin any DIY-er should know about is asbestos. Asbestos may be hiding in your tile, walls, and insulation. It is a mineral used in building materials throughout most of the 20th century. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.
Luckily, asbestos declined after cases of mesothelioma popped up in high frequency. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that forms in the lining of your internal organs, most commonly the lungs. Despite its known dangers, small amounts of asbestos are still present in some building materials manufactured today. So, it’s worth checking all of your supplies and calling a professional if you think there might be asbestos in your home.
Remember in chemistry class when we were all instructed to drift smells toward our noses instead of sticking our faces directly in them? That’s because chemical fumes are dangerous. To avoid inhaling chemical fumes, keep your workspace well ventilated especially when working with paints and sealants.
Not only can fumes cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea, but they can also irritate your skin. Besides opening the windows when working with chemicals, it’s important to think about who else is exposed. Pets and kids are much more susceptible to fumes than adults. If your kids, grandkids, or furry friends are “helping” you with a DIY project, take extra care to also keep them safe.
Let’s talk about lead. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s a good chance you have lead paint on your walls if your home was built before 1978. Lead paint in good shape, especially if covered by newer paint, doesn’t pose much of a risk. If there’s any chipped, exposed, damp, or peeling paint, be sure to have a lead-based paint professional come check it out.
Areas at particular risk of lead exposure are places like window sills, railings, or cabinets, since they see a lot of wear and tear from daily use. This increases the chances of the paint becoming damaged and releasing damaging dust.
4. Power Tools
Power tools are an incredibly useful addition to any home renovation arsenal. You know I couldn’t leave those out. Learning how to properly use them can save you money and make any project seem manageable. If you are a beginner DIY-er you can see this post for my favorite tools to get started.
There are a lot of tutorials out there demonstrating best practices for tools, and many companies even make their own content so you know exactly how to use your specific model. I personally love these video tutorials. for learning how to use power tools.
Alternatively, if you want a full in-person lesson on using power tools, consider signing up for a class at your local community college or vocational school. The time and money you put into your education now will reward you in your projects down the road!
Yes, ladders may seem like the most innocent item on this list, but they’re one of the most threatening. A staggering 50 workers are injured every day in ladder-related incidents. And that’s just the professionals! These accidents are not only dangerous, but highly preventable.
Be sure to test your ladder first, making sure both the ground and ladder itself are sturdy enough to hold you. If you can find someone to spot you, that’s even better!
6. Human Error
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s very important. We’re all human and bound to make mistakes, even when we take all the necessary precautions. From fatigue to distraction, it’s vital to take all aspects of your safety seriously, and possible threats to it, into account. I am a huge advocate for budget-friendly creativity here at Sawdust Sisters. But, if you’re tired, sleep deprived, or otherwise feeling a little “out of it”, it may be in your best interest to postpone your DIY project until you are more alert.
I also recommend having a general outline of a plan to ensure your project will turn out exactly how you want it. When you are prepared, you minimize chances for mistakes and injuries!
Now, be safe and go make your home beautiful!
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Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials for novice woodworkers and DIYers. She also works as a university professor in the health care industry. Have a question for Janice? Feel free to send her a message here!