There's no sense in doing a job yourself and then losing all the money you've saved, and more, through receiving a serious injury - and it can happen if you're not careful.
Commonsense is your most valuable safety aid. Always plan ahead and don't rush in to jobs without thinking them through and preparing the right tools and equipment. Shortcuts can not only compromise the quality of the job, they can be dangerous.
Read label information and usage instructions on paint, chemicals and other products carefully before you start the job.
Wear the appropriate protective clothing. Avoid skin contact with paint, especially if you have sensitive skin. Disposable rubber gloves are comfortable and effective. Wear eye protection when using paint stripper or cleaning products or when painting overhead. If you normally wear glasses, cover them with plastic cling wrap, you'll still be able to see and you won't get spatters on the lenses. When sanding, wear a dust mask.
Adequate ventilation is very important. Substances listed as flammable and poisonous are best treated as though their vapours are too. Open doors and windows. If that does not allow a significant airflow, use a fan as well. If you can smell vapours wear an approved mask to filter them. A room in which you can smell vapours should not be occupied for long periods of time.
Always use tools with care. A slip of a scraper or putty knife can cause an injury that will, at best, make the rest of the job a less comfortable experience. Work slowly and thoughtfully until you develop a rhythm, and then beware of losing concentration!
These can be particularly dangerous. Here are a few tips to help you avoid injurious spills.
- Do use a ladder if you need one. Chairs, chairs on tables and other
improvised platforms are dangerous. A fall of only a few feet can cause
- Don't stand on the very top steps of a ladder. There's nowhere to hang on
to steady yourself.
- Don't lean too far out from your ladder or plank. Paint within comfortable
- Don't rest the ladder on wet paintwork as it will not only mark it, but it will
skid more easily.
- Don't forget to secure the top and base of the ladder whenever possible if
you're working outside with it extended. Otherwise try to get someone to
hold it steady.
- Don't have the base of an extended ladder too close to the wall.
- Don't use a ladder that is wet or not level. Use packing to level the feet or
move to a firmer spot.
Some older paints are lead based. When sanding and removing them wear protective clothing and breathing filters. Thoroughly clean up sanding dust and scrapings and keep children away. Older material that appears to be cement sheeting may be asbestos sheeting. Do not sand through the paint surface as the asbestos dust is hazardous. Some older textured paints may also contain asbestos fibres. Contact a specialist asbestos removalist for advice if you wish to remove it.