Episode 8 DIY safety Craig Phillips home advice

Video transcript

Craig Philips Home Advice Episode 8 -  DIY Safety

In this current financial climate, more of us then ever are tackling home improvements and repairs on our own. But a few simple mistakes can lead to big problems and expensive repairs, bodged DIY jobs, and even a trip to Casualty. But a few simple rules can help you stay safe and avoid DIY disasters.

Every year over 200,000 people in the UK end up in A&E after a DIY accident at home, but a common sense attitude and a few basic precautions could help prevent all of this, let alone save money, hassle and time. The first thing you must do before starting any DIY project is assemble yourself a safety kit. You should have suitable footwear, gloves, goggles, a dust mask, ear-defenders, a first-aid kit with eye wash.

Now bear in mind, some standard dust masks aren't sufficient for painting sprays with the vapour on them. You may need to get a finer one. So make sure, whenever you purchase the paint, you find out which is the right mask for you.

Now if you're working with loud power tools, you do need to get yourself a pair of ear-defenders. Now obviously you're not going to use all of these with every DIY job around the house, but it is essential that you have a first aid kit with an eye-rinse in place.

Now before you attempt to drill any holes in the wall, make sure you have a multi-purpose detector. These will indicate whether there's any electric cables or pipes or behind the plaster work. Pass it across the wall and listen out for a bleeping sound or light and that will indicate exactly where you can or can't drill.

And for additional safety, when using any corded power tools, always plug them into an RCD first. If you happen to accidentally drill into a water pipe, you are going to have to contact your insurance company. Accidental damage is the largest single category of house insurance claims, with the escape of water the most common cause given.

Now before you start any extensive DIY projects at home, make sure you have accidental damage cover. Up to 10% of all projects go wrong in some way. Though less than half of all of home content policies cover accidental damage. Now if you do have an accident, it is a good idea to ring your insurance company before you fix it yourself.

Proper safety precautions should be taken if you suspect that anything you're working with could contain asbestos. For example, artex or textured painted ceilings or if you uncover any old floor tiles, window seals or insulation lagging that flakes or powders easily. Now if your unsure or suspect that you're dealing with asbestos, contact your local environmental health and they'll advice how to proceed. 2.57

When fixing any electrical appliances or connections, don't risk it. Turn the power off first, unplug it. If you're in doubt, get a professional in. Obviously you need to be careful when using any power tool, but if you happen to hire one that you're unfamiliar with, like a circular saw, make sure you get the hire company to give you a full safety briefing and a demonstration, so you're confident on using the tool.

And now we come to the most dangerous item in the house: the ladder. Out of the 70 people who killed on average per year from doing DIY, 50 of them are killed from falling off a ladder and 41,000 people are hospitalised per year from using a ladder and their injuries are usually far more serious. So here are a few pointers to bear in mind. Inspect the ladder before use, make sure it's suitable for the job and undamaged. Be particularly careful when using old wooden ladders, although the rungs look sturdy they could be brittle and can break with your weight.

Ladders should always be leant against the wall at 70°. That equates to one foot away from the wall for every four foot high. Now your ladder should always be secure. If at all possible get someone at the base to 'foot' the ladder, but if you're using it on soft ground it's always wise to put a plank or a slab underneath the feet of the ladder. You want your ladder to extend three rungs above the area where you're working to give you something to hold on to. And it's always wise to lash the ladder at the top, where possible. I know it's tempting to lean out when using a ladder, as opposed to going all the way down and repositioning it, but never ever lean out too far.

So, when tackling any DIY projects, no matter how big or small, use common sense, judge your DIY capabilities realistically. So at the end of a DIY day, you can enjoy one of these [holds up steaming mug of tea] as opposed to one of these [holds up first aid kit].

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