Many a homeowner will tell you: It’s easy to get injured while taking care of your home. Before starting any home maintenance project, you should don the appropriate safety gear. This helps you avoid additional holes in your body or unintended relocation of blood to the exterior of your body. Here is a list of gear and knowledge every home owner should have.
Hat – To protect your head from sunburn or minor injury. For work in an attic or crawlspace, a helmet is even better. Too many pointy or hard objects that will not be kind to your head.
Safety goggles – To protect your eyes from dirt or injury. Specifically, designated safety goggles that wrap around the sides and are ANSI Z87.1 certified for impact protection.
Ear plugs – To protect your hearing when it gets loud. Leafblowers, drills, nailguns, etc. can all damage your hearing. And once the hearing is gone, it’s gone.
Respirator or face mask – To prevent inhalation of particles that do not belong in your lungs such as dust or fiberglass. Depending on the task at hand, use either a N95 mask or a P100 respirator. This is especially important when working on older homes that might contain asbestos.
Coveralls – To protect your body and make clean-up easier. Also adds a layer when it’s cold outside.
Gloves – To protect your hands. Leather gloves will protect against minor injuries. Nitrile gloves protect against chemicals and yucky stuff.
Boots – To protect your feet (bonus points for steel-toed boots) and for better purchase or grip on whatever surface you’re walking or standing on.
Phone – If you are working alone, be sure to have your phone with you. If something happens, you want to be able to call for help.
Knee pads – Depending on the job, knee pads can help protect your knees and make the job more comfortable.
Headlamp – Light is always good. Having a light that is hands-free is even better. For those jobs in poorly-lit areas.
Non-contact voltage tester – If you are working on anything electrical, use a non-contact voltage tester to ensure things are safe to touch. Helps avoid unpleasant surprises and sudden changes in hair style.
First-aid kit – If something does go wrong, take proper care of that injury.
Knowledge is power. In this context, the power to keep yourself safe. Here are a few safety tips to ensure that your first aid kit can continue to accumulate dust for the foreseeable future.
Know your limits: If you have physical limitations that might prevent you from performing a task safely, hire somebody. Or, if you have mental limitations like fear of heights or tight spaces, hire somebody. If you are not very good with tools, hire somebody. If you are not familiar with basic components and terminology, hire somebody.
Look before you touch: Situational awareness is key in life. Look first for any potential safety hazards such as puddles, slippery surfaces, sharp or pointy things, obstacles or obstructions. Listen for sounds of possible danger like dripping, crackling, hissing, humming, etc.
Learn ladder safety: If you have to use a ladder, make sure the ladder is in good condition. Put the ladder on a firm and level surface. Do not lean out to the sides. Keep your hands free. Always have at least three points of contact with the ladder, meaning two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand.
Have assistance: If possible, have an assistant with you. A second person can hand you things, keep an eye out for your safety, and provide advice, input, or entertainment.
RTFM: If you’re not sure about the task or tool at hand, take the time to look up instructions or read the fine manual. It will greatly reduce the amount of cursing during your project.