Easter traditionally marks the beginning of DIY season - and with fine weather set to continue - the nation’s keen gardeners will also be out in force, so RoSPA is urging people to stay safe, inside and out.
It is estimated that each year, more than 200,000 people go to A&E in the UK after being injured during DIY, maintenance or gardening at home.
And, in England in 2009/10, there were 4,347 admissions to hospital after accidents involving contact with non-powered hand tools, 460 after contact with powered lawnmowers and 3,415 after contact with other powered hand tools and household machinery.* Some of these accidents will have happened at work but many of them will have happened at home.
Among those injured in 2009/10 were more than 400 children aged under 15. RoSPA urges those doing DIY to remember to tidy up straight after a job is done - children find tools and gadgets fascinating, and many injuries occur when a task is complete, but not tidied away.
Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public safety adviser, said: “Over-ambition and lack of knowledge are among the main causes of DIY accidents, and we advise people to be honest about their abilities. Accidents happen more easily when you are unprepared and in a rush, so think through the tasks you intend to do before you start work.
“Tackling a job that is too difficult could not only result in an injury, but could also mean you have to pay a tradesperson to rectify an unsuccessful attempt - turning your efforts to save money into an expensive - and perhaps painful - mistake.”
Other DIY and gardening safety tips include: stop and disconnect all electrical appliances and tools before repairing/cleaning them; only use tools/materials/products in accordance with their instructions; when working with power tools, use an RCD (residual current device) if your home is not already wired with one; avoid falls from height by checking a ladder’s condition before use; keep children and pets away from where you are working; keep products in their original containers; keep all tools, paint and chemicals out of the reach of children; and, tidy up at the end of your task.
A competent, qualified person should always carry out gas and electrical renewal or repair work. Anyone carrying out domestic and commercial gas work across the UK must be registered through Gas Safe Register.
See www.rospa.com/homesafety/ for more home and garden safety advice from RoSPA.
* Figures from the Hospital Episode Statistics (NHS Information Centre).