Don’t Be a DIY Disaster this Bank Holiday
With the Spring Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching, now is a good time to remind all of you DIY enthusiasts of a few safety tips that can help make your refurb, repair or maintenance activities go with a swing.
With thousands of accidents occurring on an annual basis as a result of mishaps with ladders, gardening equipment and power tools, health and safety leaders here in the UK are urging people to take care. According to RoSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), falls are the most common cause of hospital admissions, followed closely by injuries resulting from accidents with drills and other power tools. In fact, there was a sharp increase over the past year in these type of DIY-related injuries – a rise of more than 7%.
Falls from a ladder resulted in more than 6,000 visits to Accident and Emergency Departments across the land, and there were more than 500 hospital visits following an incident with a lawnmower! Bad news for the boys here – men are far more likely to experience a DIY disaster that ends with a hospital visit than women! Whether this is because women are more careful or because men are more likely to undertake DIY projects is not clear.
With misuse of a ladder identified as the main culprit of many hospital visits, it’s clear that those who undertake DIY on their own homes may be neglecting to consider the right safety steps to take before starting the job. Take a look at the following tips to avoid coming a cropper if you’re planning to use a ladder and do some DIY work in the home or garden over the Bank Holiday weekend.
- Before you begin, thoroughly inspect the ladder for any signs of damage or deterioration – make sure the rungs and stiles are not loose and that the non-slip ladder feet are present and have not worn at all.
- Make sure the ladder is relatively clean and free from grease, paint, cement, adhesive, sealants, etc. These contaminants may be hiding signs of wear and tear on the ladder.
- Place the ladder on a firm, level surface and make sure the floor (or ground) area around the ladder is clean and clear of any obstructions. Make sure the floor surface is not wet or slippery.
- If you’re using a step ladder, make sure that it’s always in the fully open position and that all locking devices are engaged (and in good working order) – this applies each time you move the ladder to a new position whilst working.
- Always make sure your body is centred between the stiles (uprights) of the ladder at all times – a great way of doing this is never to allow your belt buckle to go past one of the stiles of the ladder to avoid over-reaching and putting yourself at risk of a fall. If you need to reach further than this, that’s the sign that it’s time to move the ladder along to a position from which you can safely reach the area you’re working on.
- IN order to ensure safety, the highest recommended standing level when using a ladder is two rungs down from the top. If you cannot reach your work area from this position, you need a taller ladder to carry out the work safely.
- Make sure you always face towards the steps when using a ladder.
- Wear proper shoes or boots with good tread and non-slip soles when using a ladder.