But many areas of home maintenance—while mundane on the surface—have the potential to cause significant damage both to your body and your home.
Let's take a look at ten of the most dangerous home maintenance accidents waiting to happen, and how you can avoid them.
1. Falling from Ladders
Even 'secure' ladders are nothing more than an unstable platform. Concentrating on your work can often make you forget that you're perched above the ground, and can lead to slips and falls. Ladder accidents—even from just a few feet—can cause broken bones, sprains, and head injuries. Always have a spotter while you work to keep you safe and your ladder secure.
2. Electrical Shocks
The electrical current running through your home is more than enough to cause serious injuries and even death.
Taping broken insulation, replacing wires or fixing circuit breakers can all lead to unwanted exposure to those currents, and there's no way to tell just how serious the shock will be. Double-check to make sure the electricity is turned off in any areas of the home where you might be working.
3. Gas Leaks
Boiler and stove gas leaks can and do happen, and requires soldering, welding, and the use of flames with the risk of exposure to the highly flammable gas. Burns, fires, and explosions can occur.
Always shut off the mains gas supply before repairs, and make sure the leaks are fixed before turning the gas back on.
4. Broken Glass
Because fixing broken windows seems like such a simple task, people often forget to wear protective gear. But even a slight slip-up can cause deep cuts that quickly lead to rapid blood loss. Always wear protective clothing when working with broken glass.
5. Carbon Monoxide
Whenever you work on your vehicle in your garage and need to turn the engine on, be sure to leave the door open. Even a few minutes of carbon monoxide exposure can be deadly. Even better, use an electric fan to keep your garage well ventilated.
Chisels, Saws, hammers and other tools require a lot of force for them to work, and even a tiny bit of carelessness can lead to serious injury. Always use protective gear, including eye protection, when working with such tools.
7. Gardening Tools
Power tools, clippers, and shears are all commonly used this time of year and can lead to deep cuts or even lost fingers if used carelessly. Closed-toe shoes, eyewear and gloves are essential when using gardening tools.
Asbestos exposure can happen in older homes during remodeling, especially when knocking down walls. Asbestos insulation in old houses releases fine particulates when disturbed, which are then inhaled and can cause serious issues in the lungs. Working near asbestos requires the use of serious protective gear, like hazmat suits.
Before remodeling your home, have your walls checked for asbestos. If needed, call in the professionals before continuing with your project.
9. Heavy Loads
Carrying heavy tools and equipment for your remodel or maintenance work can lead to damaging muscle and joint injuries if you aren't careful. Enlist the help of a friend or rent a dolly if needed, and avoid sprains, muscle tears, and dislocations.
Even with paints that are Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) free, inhalation of fumes can make you sick—especially if you're allergic to any of the chemicals in the paint. Use a mask whenever you deal with paint, even if you've never had a reaction before.
Home maintenance and renovations are part and parcel of being a homeowner. Being prepared and aware are half the battle to stay safe. While small incidents will always occur, protecting yourself from the serious accidents is easy as long as you use your head and stay alert.