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DIY project safety: "If only" can last a lifetime

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ July 19, 2013

It's safe to say that it's not just a fad -- more and more families are taking on their own home improvement projects these days. They're quickly discovering what many longtime DIYers already know: the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from working on your house can be addictive. And of course, the amount you may save on labor can be pretty nice as well.

However, there's one part of tackling DIY projects that doesn't receive much publicity: some types of tools can be dangerous - especially to those who don't use them every day. In a matter of seconds they can inflict a serious injury -- the kind from which you may never fully recover. Taking the time to follow these four safety tips could save you from thinking "if only" for the rest of your DIY career.

4 tips for DIY project safety

Have you ever marveled at how quickly your sander disperses of old paint and splintered wood? How about how your circular saw goes through an old piece of oak as if it were butter? Now imagine how the various parts of your body might fare against those same or just about any other power tool. Probably not too well. Here are a few safety tips that should be followed when doing your DIY projects:

  1. Eyes -- Invest in a good pair of safety glasses and wear them every time you pick up a power tool. All it takes is one tiny piece of flying metal or wood and your vision could be affected for life. The really good safety glasses can be a little pricey, but how much are your eyes worth?
  2. Ears -- Your hearing probably isn't what it once was, but don't let your DIY projects speed up the hearing loss process. Power tools can be loud, and sustained use can cause long term damage to your hearing. At the very least wear earmuffs before flipping the switch on your circular saw or router, but inexpensive foam plugs that close off the entire ear canal may be even better.
  3. Fingers -- Do you really need all ten fingers? You might find out the hard way if any get too close to one of your power tool's blades when the juice is on. Any type of saw from reciprocating to jig can have one or more of your digits in the sawdust pile in just a fraction of a second. Always be sure of where your fingers are in relation to the blade and your working area before pulling any type of power tool's trigger.
  4. Lungs -- All of that dust in the air must mean that you're making some progress, but your lungs might think a little differently. If you can see the dust that your power tool is creating, chances are that you're breathing it in as well -- especially when working in a confined space. Disposable dust masks are available at just about all home improvement stores and when working with materials such as fiber cement, a respirator is highly recommended.

Doing your own home improvement projects can be highly rewarding. But don't forget: when it comes to jobsite safety, "if only" can last a lifetime.

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