DIY can be more hazardous than you think

March 2, 2017, In: Home

DIY can be one of the best ways to make your house feel like a home, particularly if you’ve just moved in and want to put your own stamp on it. But it can also be much more hazardous than you may have thought, with a large element of risk- particularly for people who are inexperienced or haven’t yet considered these risks.

Personal injury lawyers Slater Gordon have surveyed more than 2000 UK residents, and found that many people were very uninformed about the risks associated with home improvements.

Gen Xers are the most DIY-happy generation, and out of the 34-44 year olds surveyed, almost a third of the mare currently in the midst of planning projects. Almost a quarter of all respondents also said they’re planning to complete DIY project this year.

This is exciting news for the industry, but we also need to look at the education levels around DIY. 48% of those surveyed said that they’re unconcerned about any risks to their health while completing DIY projects, 45% have no hesitation drilling into walls, and 22% said that they see no problem with repairing or replacing old garages or sheds. A quarter of respondents said they would saw into MDF or treated wood, while 63% are willing to remove wallpaper, tiles, or plaster.

The problem? All of these activities pose significant health and safety risks if they’re not properly prepared for and handled.

Asbestos is one of these risks, and was legally used up until 1999. You’re likely to have asbestos in your home if it was built before 1980, and while it’s generally fine if left alone, when disturbed the particles can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.

MDF is another big worry, and while you’ll find it in many types of wood, the resin that it’s made with contains a carcinogen called formaldehyde (you’ve probably heard of this), which can cause a range of respiratory issues.

Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can reduce and remove these risks. The first?  Use a mould removal kit to get rid of any mould, try not to break any boards or tiles, and if you know you have asbestos in your home, it can be a good idea to get a professional to come in and do the job for you.

It’s important to ensure that you’re taking all safety precautions, and this means investing in the correct safety gear. If you’re working near any gases, fumes, wood, or airborne particles, a safety mask is crucial to protect your lungs. The same goes for your eyes, which are at risk from small particles flying up into them while you’re working, and if you know you’ll be using loud equipment like power tools, hearing protection is a must to protect your ears.

While there are many benefits when you’re doing it yourself, the key to a successful experience is to plan ahead and take safety seriously.


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