Americans are a nation of do-it-yourselfers, especially when it comes to the home. It’s not just a matter of the money that would be spent of repairmen and handymen. We take pride in being able to do things for ourselves and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from a job well done. Because the home is a relaxed place, we often ignore the risks of the maintenance work we do in it. And that can have serious consequences. What you will find below is a list of the 10 most deadly home maintenance accidents.
If you have doubts about your ability to do home repairs safely, calling for professional help is a good idea. To find the experts you want, in your area, just hop online and conduct some basic research.
Minor electrical problems are common in most homes. Replacing a circuit breaker, taping up broken insulation and replacing old wiring are common tasks. But the 110 volts (or more!) that runs through household wiring can be deadly, especially for those with even minor heart problems. We have all suffered minor shocks, shaken them off, and carried on. But there is no way of telling how serious a potential shock can be and it can be deadly. Make sure that the power supply has been turned off to any areas where you are doing electric repairs and check everything twice before turning it on again.
2.Falling off a Ladder
Every home has a ladder. It’s used for everything from changing the bulb in a high mounted light fitting to cleaning out gutters and replacing shingles on the roof. When you are on a ladder, no matter how secure it is, you are standing on an unstable platform. Getting involved in the work you are doing and forgetting where you are can cause you to slip off the ladder. And a fall from even a few feet can result in sprains, broken bones, and even head injuries. Always make sure that the ladder is securely placed and have someone standing below to tell you if your movements are putting you in danger of falling off it.
Windows break – it’s a fact of life. Replacing broken window panes is not a technically demanding job. But because it is such a common job and so easy, we often don’t bother to wear protective gear – finding a long unused pair of gloves could take longer than the fix itself. But even the slightest slip can result is a deep cut. And if it should happen to slice the veins or arteries in the forearms or wrists, heavy bleeding can occur. And the rapid blood loss can leave you weak and dizzy so that you are unable to stop the bleeding or summon help. Always protect any exposed areas of the body when working with broken glass.
Gas leaks from a stove or a boiler so happen. The repair often requires welding or soldering and the use of naked flames where there is highly inflammable gas is always dangerous. It’s not just a matter of burns – the risk of serious fires and even explosions is not to be taken for granted. Make sure that the gas supply is turned off at the mains before attempting to repair any leaks and once the repairs have been completed, always check to ensure that the leaks have been totally repaired.
Working on your car is a great American pastime. We all know the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning but often underestimate its dangers. Whenever you turn on the car’s engine in the garage, even for a minute or two, ensure that the garage door is open to allow the carbon monoxide to escape. If possible use a fan to blow the air out of the garage. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and can leave you unconscious without warning.
Shears, clippers, power tools, are all common gardening tools. These heavy sharp devices can easily cause a deep cut or even chop off a finger. Always use protective gloves when using them and make sure the area is safe before handling bigger tools like motorized hedgers. Also don't forget to wear closed-toe shoes and wear eye-wear if you are dealing with tools that spray debri like lawn edgers.
Saws hammers, chisels and the like require force to be applied to do their job. The slightest bit of carelessness can result in the force being applied to your body and causing grievous injury. A splinter from wood being cut can fly up into your eye. Avoid all distractions when doing any carpentry work and make sure that you use protective gear.
A home maintenance project may involve carrying equipment and materials, some of it very heavy. Be careful of straining yourself when lifting loads, even if it to carry something just a few feet. Get a friend to help you with heavy loads or if needed, do not hesitate to rent a dolly to move them. Sprains, torn muscles, and dislocations can be very painful and require a lot of down time for recovery.
Buying an old house and fixing it up or doing some small remodeling in your old home can be major but extremely satisfying DIY projects. Taking down walls or shifting them to alter the size of a room are among the most common of these. Let’s take it for granted that you have the experience and skills to do the work yourself. The danger here lies not in taking down and fabricating walls, but in what is in them. Old houses often have asbestos insulation in the walls and when the walls is broken, the fine particle get in the air and can be inhaled. Once in the lungs, asbestos can cause life threatening illnesses. Dealing with asbestos requires specialized training and the use of protective fear, including hazmat suits. Before touching the walls of an old house, have it checked for asbestos and if it is there, contact some professionals to remove it before continuing with your remodeling.
Painting a house can be fun, but the fumes, even from paints that are free of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs), can make you sick, and if you have an allergy to any of the chemicals in the paint, the result can be deadly. Always us a mask when dealing with paint, even if you have never had a problem before – a reaction or malady could occur even after years of dealing with paint.
Everyone does some amount of home maintenance. The trick to staying safe is to know your limits – both in terms of skills and physical abilities. If you know what you are doing and do not exceed your physical limitations, you can reduce the chances of deadly accidents at home significantly. Small accidents will always happen, but by protecting yourself and your family from the serious ones, you will make the home a happier place to be in.