While the saying “accidents happen” is true in day-to-day life, there are plenty of opportunities to prevent unnecessary accidents from happening, especially when it comes to DIY projects and power tools. With Pinterest and Facebook highlighting all the home projects you can take on, it’s easy to get to work in your garage right away. But before you start sawing wood or welding iron, you need to think about safety.
Power tools operate at high speeds, making them dangerous, especially if your project entails a high degree of repetition. Thumb and index finger injuries are the most common, usually on the non-dominant hand. According to data from the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry’s Home and Leisure Accident database, some of the most common tools that cause injury resulting in a hospital or specialist visit include circular saws, electric drills, table saws and routers.
Don’t overlook manual hand tools as a potential source of injury, though. Razor blade knives also cause a large amount of visits to medical clinics. The difference is that power tools increase the severity of the injury risk due to the tools’ speed and force. A majority of such injuries happen at home since most workplaces enforce strict safety protocols.
With all that being said, here’s what the weekend warrior DIYer needs to know about safety:
Start With Safer Tools
When purchasing power tools, it goes without saying that the first step to safety is buying the right tool for the job. Using the wrong tool is the surest way to injury, so don’t skimp or ignore the tool-related directions for your project.
When buying manual tools, find ones with compressible, slip-resistant grips that also have finger stops. Look for tools that are made of nonconductive materials, especially if you are using them outside. The better the grip is, the less hard you have to squeeze. Not all grips are the same, so try several tools in the store and buy the one that is most comfortable in your hand.
Remember the Basics
Don’t wear jewelry or baggy shirts when working with power tools. Wear gloves and eye goggles even if you wear glasses. Use properly-rated outdoor extension cords, and use clamps to secure material whenever possible so you have both hands available. The Power Tool Institute has a thorough tool-by-tool safety guide that provides specific tips on each major tool in your garage.
Don’t Be Lazy About Maintenance
Just like dull razor blades are more likely to cut you, working with dull or dirty blades is a path to an unnecessary injury. Replace or sharpen blades on your tools frequently. Also, keep your tools clean. Before use, check if anything is loose or if parts are moving that shouldn’t be. Remove any dust or rust that has accumulated, and look in every chamber and on all sides of the tool. After use, stow the tool properly and right away. Exposure to the wrong conditions, such as rain or dampness, contribute to shortening the life of your tools and put your overall safety at risk.
Author Information: Marie Hartung is a Realtor and Accredited Home Stager who frequently assists clients with home improvement projects before they list their homesMarie Hartung is a Realtor and Accredited Home Stager who frequently assists clients with home improvement projects before they list their homes.