Every homeowner at one time or another performs minor or major repair on their house. The most common repair revolves around the home's plumbing and the many faucets, drains, valves, and toilets that are installed in every home. While a licensed, professional contractor can easily handle any home plumbing project, their hourly rates are sometimes too expensive for the average home owner to afford. If you choose to perform your own home plumbing repairs, safety should always be your number one concern. This article will discuss some of the common, precautionary steps and tools a professional contractor keeps in mind at all times while performing new construction or home repair.
Unless you are building a sand castle at your local beach, never wear open-toe shoes! Construction boots are big and bulky for a reason: they protect your feet! If you don't own a pair of construction boots, a solid pair of hiking boots can provide a decent substitute.
Safety goggles - always protect your eyes! The non-construction worker will usually scoff at the idea of wearing safety goggles, citing reasons such as "I don't need those!" or "Those are silly looking!" Keep in mind that you only have two eyeballs and they are not easily repaired if you should damage them. Metal fragments, wood fragments, dust, chemicals, and solvents can damage an eye much quicker than most people realize. Safety goggles are cheap to purchase and you can find them at every hardware store. At the very least, you should wear the style that has a small shield on either side of each lens. If you are working with chemicals or solvents, buy the goggles that fit tight to your face and perform a seal against your skin. When it comes to safeguarding your eyesight, you can never be too careful.
Gloves - keep your hands pretty! Protecting your hands is easily accomplished by purchasing a cheap set of cotton gloves. If you need to handle small objects, cotton gloves might be too clumsy for the project. In such a situation, you can purchase a pair of tight-fitting latex gloves. Although latex gloves will make your hands sweat, they are perfect for keeping your hands clean while still allowing you to handle small nuts and bolts. However, if you are working with an open flame, I suggest you purchase heavy-duty gloves from your local hardware store or contractor supplier.
Do you have long hair? Tie it up! Loose clothing and long hair have literally killed many construction workers. All too often, the worker gets his or her hair (or shirt sleeve) caught in a low-torque, high-power machine and the worker quickly loses life or limb. Always keep your hair tied-up and wear snug-fitting but comfortable clothing.
Let there be light! Weak lighting is another precursor to an accident. Make sure your work environment is well-lit. Purchase construction flood lights if necessary. They are easy to find and usually cheap to buy.
Masks - working with chemicals? Always wear a mask! Safety masks come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. There are respirator masks, chemical ventilation masks, large "splash guard" face shields, gas masks, and an entire line of masks created for specific uses. The average home repair probably won't require you to wear a heavy-duty mask, but I would still recommend you use a light, throw-away cotton mask.
Ventilation - this is particularly important if you are working with chemicals. You should open nearby windows, doors, etc. before you start soldering or using toxic substances. Take a break every few minutes and get fresh air. Setup an oscillating fan if necessary. Too much of the wrong kind of chemical can make you light headed and possibly feint. Not too mention, there could be long term damage whenever you inhale toxic fumes.
Ever heard the phrase, "one hand for you and one hand for the company"? It refers to working on a ladder and simply means to maintain steady progress but always keep an eye out for your own safety. Also, never work from the top rung! The majority of ladder accidents occur while using a six-foot ladder. If an accident does occur while working on a ladder, it happens so fast that you do not have time to react. Any equipment that you happen to be holding usually slams into your body or your face, so always be careful when you work on a ladder!
While there are literally hundreds of other topics regarding job site safety, those are the primary areas where most people get hurt on the job. Hopefully you learned a few things from this article that will help you maintain a safer work environment. Good luck with your projects!