From Dean Dowd on January 26, 2009 in General Remodel
No one wants to cook their first meal in their brand new kitchen on crutches, or worse, be unable to cook that special meal at all. With any project—big or small, DIY or contracted—safety should always be at the front of your mind. Taking some preemptive steps to facilitate a safe job site is your best bet for a healthy, enjoyable, and finished project.
If you really want to do your research on safety, or learn the officially safe way to use tools and equipment, then check out the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Jobsite Safety Handbook. Here you will find all the official rules for jobsite safety in detail.
Awareness, Common Sense, and Communication
The best tool for safety you can have on any job is your own common sense. Safety is our natural instinct, so be sure to listen to it. I’ll describe several ways to maintain a safe work environment below, but awareness is always number one. If you don’t feel safe doing something, then it is probably not safe or requires some extra consideration or advice from someone more experienced at doing the job (i.e., a professional contractor).
For example, evaluate the area in which you are working. If you see debris such as lumber, trash, scrap metal, etc. lying around, then the job is not safe. Five minutes of cleanup could save you a heap of trouble and pain. Where are your tools? I’ve seen several accidents that happened because someone left a hammer sitting on a wall or the top of a ladder. Someone else goes to move that ladder or bumps that wall… It happens more often than you might think.
If you are working in groups, especially at different levels, be aware of who is in your vicinity. Is someone working above or below you? Make sure everyone knows where everyone else is and be sure to communicate with each other. Be vocal, ask for help if you need it and do not do more than you think you can, especially when you are up high on a ladder or a wall.
Know Your Equipment
Just about any tool or piece of equipment on a jobsite can be dangerous when handled carelessly. There are far too many to handle in just one post but, again, use your common sense; it is more than half the battle. Read and abide by the manufacturer’s instructions. Ladders are a common source of jobsite injury and they are required to have safety instructions printed clearly on them. Any type of power saw will have a guard on it to protect against errant cuts. Do not pin these guards back and have any visible damage to the saw repaired before attempting to use it again.
Remember the basics of safety on the job. Wear gloves and safety glasses. Wear respirators when dealing with concrete or plywood dust. Speaking of inhalants, read the safety precautions on any chemicals or solvents you may be using before you using them, including cans of paint.
Hire a Contractor
Sometimes the safest thing you can do is to not get in over your head. Some jobs are better left to contractors who have the proper experience, equipment, and manpower to safely complete the project. And if you’re in a hurry, get free estimates from certified remodeling contractors in your area today.