Whether working on an industrial construction site or standing on a ladder in the kitchen to change a light bulb, safety should be the primary concern. An enjoyable, satisfying remodeling project is one completed in a safe and timely manner. The common temptation to cut corners in terms of safety is the number one reason for job site injuries.
Yet the idea that safety and your remodeling plans clash is itself a myth. As most business owners would tell you, the repercussions of job site hazards far outweigh any extra time taken to ensure a safe working environment. This goes for homeowners and DIY projects as well, even more so in fact…Who’s going to take your place should you fall off a ladder due to improper use? No one. Instead, the project will remain incomplete until you are fully recovered or you’ll have to pay for a contractor to come in and finish the job. Therefore, taking some preemptive steps, including a possible change in mindset, to do the work safely will have undeniable benefits for you and your remodel.
STEP 1: Educate yourself
Knowing how to properly use tools and equipment is tantamount to a safe job site. Any contractor or construction worker can tell you about the first time they used a circular saw or climbed high up the rungs of a ladder. They would tell you how awkward and somewhat intimidating those first experiences were, not to mention the obvious danger involved in improper use of that equipment. To learn in detail about job site safety, as it stands on a professional level, check out the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Jobsite Safety Handbook. More than that, simply read the manufacturer’s instructions on any tools or equipment you purchase or rent.
STEP 2: Use your common sense
By far the best tool for job site safety is your own common sense. The odds are if you are uncomfortable in any situation on the job, then you should give safety a second thought. Is it safe to stand on a step ladder that does not have all four feet squarely on the ground? If a power tool is making strange noises and bent or otherwise physically damaged, does it make sense to continue using it? No. Most of job site safety simply involves awareness and common sense. By no means should these warnings work to paralyze you with fear at the foot of a ladder, but understanding safety and being aware of your surroundings will actually help eliminate that fear and give you the confidence and wherewithal to get the job done safe and sound.
STEP 3: Keep it clean.
Cleanliness is the foundation of job site safety. When you are in the midst of a fast-paced project, carrying tools and materials from the cut station to install or walking around with thoughts and numbers running through your mind, you are likely not as in tune as you could be to what’s on the floor in piles or scattered about. Trip hazards are a common cause of job site injury. Again, common sense comes into play. You know your awareness is somewhat compromised when in the throes of a day’s hard work, so thinking ahead and cleaning the job site at the end of each day will not only make the work site safer but allow you to get right to work in the morning when your mind and awareness are as fresh as they can be.
STEP 4: Hire a contractor
Contractors around the world have stories of DIY disasters in which homeowners got themselves in over their head and had to call in professional reinforcements, often costing the homeowner more money (and possibly health) than simply calling a contractor in the first place. The general advice here is to know your limits. Rushing into projects often results in frustration and anger as mistakes and unforeseen obstacles stack up. Frustration and anger in turn lead to a lack of awareness which often leads to an unsafe work environment, leaving you insulted and injured. At the very least, contact local contractors for free estimates and the weigh the costs before getting started. You may just find that paying a contractor, who will have the experience, equipment, and manpower to safely complete the project, is well worth the added expense.