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General Do It Yourself Safety

Aug 21, 2007
The home can be a highly dangerous area so every one doing diy needs to take some precaution and, more importantly, use common sense. The following are some basic principles for the do it yourself person.

Always keep safely in mind before you do any diy activity, use caution, care, and good judgement - if in doubt, don't.

Always read the labels on cans containing paints, solvents, and other products; and always follow the guidelines and any other warnings.

Always read the manufacturer's instructions (especially the warnings) before using any tool, especially power tools with cutting blades/bits.

Always pay deliberate attention to how a tool works, if you understand it's operation, you are less likely to cause injury.

Always know and accept the limitations of your tools - use the appropriate tool for the task. Do not try to use a tool for anything it is not designed to do.

Always remove the key from any drill chuck (hand or stand mounted) after you have removed/fitted a drill bit. Do not leave the key in the chuck even when the drill is switched off.

Always wear the appropriate protection for the job in hand. This may involve gloves, facemasks (to filter dust etc.) and/or eye protection.

Always keep your body (especially hands) away from the business ends of power tools using blades, cutters, and bits.

Always make sure that any tool adjustment is secured before using the tool - it is always better to double check an adjustment - e.g., always check the fence on a saw bench - this will avoid possible injury and scraped material.

Always be sure that the electrical supply is safe before using it; do not overload any circuit. Make sure all power tools, extension cables and electrical outlets are serviceable and undamaged. Do not use power tools in wet conditions.

Always check for possible cables/pipe work before drilling or cutting 'blind' into any wall or other surface. Take care when you cannot see the reverse side of what you are drilling or cutting.

Always use special care when using a saw bench; older benches may not have the latest safest features (blade guard, safety cut-out etc.). Avoid sawing short pieces if you can, as these can be hard to keep a firm grip of.

Always clamp small work pieces firmly to a bench or other work surface when using a power tool on them.

Always remember that things can go wrong very quickly and the body's reaction will not always be quick enough.

Always use both hands where a tool is designed to be used two handed.

Always ensure that the work area is adequately lit.

Always check your local building regulations before carrying out any new construction or major remodelling. The regulations are intended to avoid safety hazards and should be observed - they should not be considered obstructions to be circumvented.

Always check ladders and steps before use, make sure the rungs and sides are undamaged.

Always check the security of a ladder or set of steps before you start to climb.

Always be aware and alert!


Never wear loose clothing, hanging hair or jewellery when using power tools.

Never try to use a tool (especially a power tool) for any task it was not designed to do.

Never work with power tools when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or are tired. If in doubt - don't. Any of these factors can impair judgement of your ability, your physical state and general safety aspects - if always better to delay a job than risk serious injury.

Never use a power tool which is damaged in any way (case, switch or cable etc.). If it starts to make an odd noise or emit smells - stop and investigate.

Never cut small, loose pieces of wood, metal or other material using a power tool - small off-cuts which you cannot hold or secure, will tend to fly off with potential for injury.

Never change a drill bit, router cutter or saw blade or make any adjustment to a cutting power tool - until the power cable has been unplugged. Do not rely only upon the switch on the tool or outlet.

Never use power tools if you are at risk of overbalancing, reposition any ladder, scaffold etc. to make the job comfortable.

Never work with blunt tools (saws, drill bits, cutters etc.). Sharpen the tools yourself, have them sharpened, or throw them away and use a new tool.

Never use a power tool on a work piece which is not firmly secured.

Never drill or cut 'blind' into a surface before checking the possible location of electrical cables or pipe work.

Never saw a large work piece unless it is well supported both sides of the cut or there is someone else to support the off-cut.

Never saw a work piece supported on any part of your body (or anyone else's body!).

Never carry sharp tools in your pocket. If you want to carry such tools, use a special- purpose tool belt.

Never overreach when working on a ladder or steps, always get someone to re-position the ladder at the bottom whilst you are not on it.
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