The Federation of Master Builders

DIY Safety Guide

When embarking on any DIY home improvement project, it’s a good idea to take some precautions before climbing up that ladder or switching on that power tool. Here are some health and safety tips to help prepare you before starting any work, whilst helping your project run smoothly and safely.

DIY Health and Safety infographic

1. Keep your workspace tidy

A clean workspace is a safe workspace. Try cleaning your tools and work area as you go along, always placing the safety guards back on your power tools and turning them off before leaving the room. If you have small children, it's best to store tools and supplies out of reach.

2. Use protective clothing when necessary

Dressing for safety is an important consideration; before you start it's worth changing into some old close-fitted clothing and deciding whether you will need any specialist equipment.

When painting, or using any material that generates toxic fumes or dust, it is advisable to wear a mask. Safety goggles are a must if working on tasks that will create dust and debris. If you’re operating a loud powerful tool, always protect your hearing by wearing earplugs. A hard hat is essential when there's any danger of bumping your head or from falling objects. Don’t forget to keep a first aid kit to hand, making sure it’s well stocked and within reach.

3. Work at height safely

Ladders are one of the most common causes of accidents during home improvement activities, making it even more important to follow these guidelines. Start off on the right foot by matching the type of ladder for the height and nature of your task. Inspect the surface on which your ladder will stand, making sure its firm and sturdy, if not make adjustments or to provide extra protection, find a helper to stand on the bottom rung and hold on to the sides.

4. Assess whether you may need specialist advice/assistance

Remember when planning your home improvements, DIY gas or electrical work won’t save you money – it could cost your life. If you think you may have asbestos in your home, leave it alone; asbestos is safe unless it's damaged or disturbed. Use a professional who has the right skills to carry out this work out safely, use our free Find a Builder service to find a vetted specialist.

5. Consider risks to others (good practice)

Do take your family and pets into consideration when making lots of noise and mess. Be aware of who enters your work area, keep children and pets way from tools and projects. You might be in a hurry to get the job done more quickly but late-night drilling and hammering could ruin your relationship with your neighbours. Don’t forget about the waste or rubbish you produce during your project; hiring a skip may be ideal for some projects, but think carefully about where this will be placed and whether it will impact others.

If you feel like you don’t have all the skills necessary to carry out your project use our Find a Builder service to contact specialist FMB builders in your area.

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