Safety Second – It’s a Brainer
Every time I get in the car with the kids I think to myself, “Safety second.” That doesn’t mean I throw them in without seat belts and fire down the road at 80mph. It means that if the activity itself doesn’t come before safety we would never do it. The same goes for DIY projects. If you never swing that hammer, there’s no risk of a flat thumb, but you’ll never get those shelves up. So, it’s safety second. The point is if we realize we’re putting safety second by doing DIY, then we should realize how much more safety matters. Once we decide to plug-in that Sawzall we’ve already made a risky decision, now just take thirty seconds to think about basic DIY safety before pulling that trigger.
Here’s a short list of the most common safety oversights on DIY projects that a simple second check will prevent.
Ladders – Over 150,000 people go to the hospital every year because of ladder accidents. Using a ladder incorrectly or using one that’s in poor condition can cause serious injury. Before you climb it check it top to bottom for any loose or broken parts. Never stand a ladder on anything but a firm and level surface. Never climb higher than the second rung on a stepladder or the third rung on an extension ladder to access high places.
Table Tools – They’re fast, powerful and easy to use. But they’re extremely easy to get too comfortable around when you’re accustomed to using them. Most big saws and table tools come with safety features of their own. Don’t count on them. Often times they’re only there to protect the manufacturer from liability issues. Never use a table saw when you are tired, angry, stressed, hungry, or under the influence of anything. Be sure your power cords are undamaged, the work environment is dry and the air is clear.
Knives – Knives are everywhere and you use them everyday. And while the majority of knife accidents are not major, they are the most common and of course they can occasionally be major. First thing is to keep them sharp. A dull knife takes more force to use which makes accidents more likely and more painful. Never use a knife if your hands are wet. You’re just asking to have your hand slip down the blade. Don’t ever try to catch a falling knife. If you do, you’ll quickly be reminded what knives are for.
When I was in the Navy, we’d a Captain who liked to remind us that chief way we fight wars is by hurling material that’s harder than the target. So whenever I’ve got a pocket full of wood screws, or I’m climbing a ladder near a pile of scrap I think twice.
These examples are decidedly basic safety points, but they account for the most DIY injuries. That tells me too many people are overconfident, certain they’ve put safety first, they fail to think twice and risk injury. And that’s why I say, “Safety second.”
Author Bio: My name is Bob Gorman and I’m freelance writer and blogger who regularly contributes to several blogs. I have posted various articles that cover topics from Home Improvement to DIY and Safety. Currently I’m writing for SafeSmart Access, safety and access solutions company from Sydney.