A long period of confinement at home during the coronavirus outbreak might seem to be a good time to catch up on all those DIY tasks that have been waiting for your attention.
Before you undertake any projects during this period, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Home Safety team is asking you to stop and think.
1. When attentions turn to DIY activities, hospitals see a significant rise in people attending as a result of DIY injuries. Now is not a good time to put added pressure on the services that are at the frontline of treating people who have contracted the coronavirus.
2. If you put yourself out of action as a result of a serious injury you will not be able to call for back up from friends or family members to look after you or your children while you recover from injury.
3. To ensure that children are kept safe, many DIY tasks need to be done when they are not around. As schools have closed for an indefinite period, homes will be very busy, increasing the likelihood of accidents if DIY activities are attempted. Anything involving tools, chemicals, the use of ladders, etc. increases the risk of a family member having an accident.
4. Currently supplies of DIY materials are likely to be restricted. If a job is started but cannot be finished due to the lack of availability of materials or because of restrictions on movement which mean you cannot buy the materials needed, you may put part of your living space out of action at a time when it is most needed. You may also be tempted to take short cuts which mean that job is not finished safely.
If there are essential jobs that need to be done during this time please consider the following:
• Ensure that you have read all the instructions when tackling DIY and gardening projects, and taken all the recommended precautionary measures when using tools.
• Children learn by being inquisitive and will often want to copy what adults are doing, so supervision is key with any sort of home or gardening project.
• Always use personal protective equipment including gloves, goggles, helmet, and face mask and safety shoes as appropriate and recommended for the task and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
• Keep household chemicals in their original containers (never decant them into unmarked containers).
• Keep all tools, paint and chemicals out of the reach of children and tidy up at the end of your task.
• Stop and disconnect all electrical appliances and tools before repairing or cleaning them.
• Only use tools/materials/products in accordance with their instructions.
• When working with power tools, use an RCD (residual current device) if your home is not already wired with one.
• Avoid falls from height by checking a ladder’s condition before use and ensuring someone is holding the ladder in place for you.
• Always operate within the range of your skills, ability and experience.
To avoid injury you should always consider safety when planning any DIY activity, but during the coronavirus outbreak there is the added incentive that by staying safe you will be avoiding placing additional pressure on NHS services.
If you require further advice on home safety matters, please email [email protected]