Don’t Get Hurt at home: The Three Home Improvement Projects that Cause the Most Injuries
With the economy yet to rebound to its former glory, many homeowners are taking on DIY home improvement projects to save money. The result is that in 2011 alone, an estimated 43 million people did a total of 57 million projects around the home. The shocking statistic, however, is that 20% of these 43 million end up in the ER. That’s more than 8.5 million people in one year! Today, the economy is not much better than two years ago, so it is reasonable to assume that this figure has not declined.
Studies show that certain types of injuries are more common than others, so if you are about to take on any of the following three projects, exercise caution every step of the way. Speaking of steps…
The #1 cause of accidents involving home improvement projects is falling off ladders. That includes painting, decorating, electrical work, roofing and other jobs that require ladders. All the experts on safety recommend the following:
- Using the right ladder for the right job: if a step ladder is required rather than a straight ladder, then that is what you should be using.
- Never use a step ladder like a straight ladder; always use it in the A position after making sure the spreaders are properly locked.
- Always ensure that the ladder base is resting on firm, non-slippery surfaces – or that it has proper rubber feet.
The #2 cause of injuries related to home improvement is lawn mowing. The accidents in this category are generally caused by debris, such as rocks and sharp branches, flying out from between the mower blades. The best way to stay safe is to:
- Ensure that no kids or pets are around when mowing the lawn.
- Always check the lawn for potentially dangerous debris before starting.
- Never fuel up the mower with the engine running or still hot.
- Always work with heavy shoes on – never with sandals, sneakers with laces or, worse, barefoot.
The #3 cause of mishaps when doing DIY home improvement is power tools. The hazards here are more obvious, and the most common type of injury is lacerations, or cuts to the fingers and hands. In many cases, flying debris may also hit an eye and damage it. The safety precautions when using power tools are:
- Always use protective eyewear with side coverings.
- Jewelry and lose clothing are invitations to tango – or tangle, rather.
- Never try to unjam moving parts with the power cord plugged in.
These three home improvement project categories cause the most number of accidents around the home. If you’d rather not hire a professional contractor, then be sure to take the necessary safety requirements any time you take up a high-risk project. By following these simple safety rules, you will be keeping your family and yourself free from ER visits related to home improvement projects. Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable with a certain home improvement project, it’s best to hire a professional.
Zane Schwarzlose writes for Colley and Colley, LLP, a personal injury practice in Austin, Texas. Zane thinks home improvement can be surprisingly dangerous.