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Whether it's demo day or you’re just trying to hang up that family photo that your significant other has been nagging you about for months, injuries can happen even from the simplest of home improvement projects. Fear not! We’re looking at the most common DIY injuries and how to prevent them.


April 1, 2019

Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are great for a lot of reasons – they can be cost effective, allow for more creative freedom (hello Pinterest!), and they’re just plain fun. But, there can be some safety risks associated with them if you don’t take the necessary steps to educate and protect yourself. Let's take a closer look at three common injuries that can come from home-improvement projects and some simple steps you can take to prevent them.

1. Eye Injuries

a man wearing goggles to protect his eyes while using a power drill

Your eyes are one of your most important assets. Without them, how will you see the project you’re working on? All jokes aside, you need to protect your eyes. Depending on what type of project you’re working on, if not protected, your eyes could come into contact with flying debris like wood chips, splinters, metal fragments, and more.

Did you know that MedExpress Urgent Care sees eye injuries peak during the month of July? This summer, take a little extra precaution when it comes to protecting your eyes. The best way to protect those peepers is to always wear safety goggles or glasses when working on DIY projects.

Luckily, safety eyewear is readily available and can be found at any home improvement store. When it comes to safety eyewear, look for lenses made of polycarbonate, which is the strongest lens material available. As always, safety eyewear should fit properly and not slip as you move around. If you’re working on a project where dust or particles will be flying around, opt for glasses with side shields. If you're working with chemicals, wear goggles that will protect your entire eye area. Goggles can also be worn over prescription glasses and with contact lenses.

2. Skin Lacerations

close-up of gloved hands using a power tool to drill a screw into a piece of wood

Just like your eyes, you use your hands in nearly every DIY or home-improvement project you do, which makes them particularly vulnerable to injury. If you’re planning on using a saw, knife, or any other power tool, you may experience a knick (or two). Don’t worry, you can still get your Chip Gaines on without losing a limb.

When it comes to using power tools, read the instructions carefully. Always follow the instructions that come with the tool – and don't go off of memory. At MedExpress, we see a peak in wrist, hand, and finger wounds in July, which account for 15 percent of all injury visits. And don't forget! Always wear thick and protective gloves and closed-toe shoes to protect your hands and feet. For most DIY projects involving power tools, handling carpentry, or diving into some yard work, we recommend leather palm gloves that will help protect against abrasions.

MedExpress Pro Tip: If you happen to run into a little bit of an accident, MedExpress has you covered with stitches on site. Find a location near you.

3. Injuries from Ladder Falls

close-up of two people's hands using a paint roller to paint a wall turquoise

With the warmer weather, spring and summer are great times to open the windows and get around to painting that guest room – after your significant other finally decides on the perfect shade of beige, that is. If you’ll be using a ladder for any home-improvement projects, it’s helpful to ground yourself (ha, get it?) in these helpful safety tips:

  • Avoid soft, wet, or slippery surfaces.
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes.
  • Remember the 4-to-1 rule: For every four feet that you have to climb, move the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall.

And if you take the ladder outdoors to do some outside DIY work, consider the conditions. Refrain from using the ladder during storms or windy periods and make sure it is placed on level ground.

Feeling inspired? We sure are. While a lot of projects can be tackled by a rookie, its best to leave anything involving plumbing, gas lines, electrical work, and roofing projects to the pros. Instead, stick to painting walls and building that wooden bench from Pinterest.

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