Safety rules apply to DIY projects

Photo credit: jkgreenstein12 on Flickr

Photo credit: jkgreenstein12 on Flickr

Weekend DIY warriors are getting busy as the weather warms. We can go online and see lots of inspiring ideas for new sheds and fences – or maybe a bird house or new deck with raised beds for the flowers… (I love those websites!)

But before you get out there, please review Power Tool Safety, a WorkSafeBC video series in English and Punjabi. It covers safe use of nail guns and circular saws, and be warned: they are not for the faint of heart.

When I was researching this post, a friend told me a story from his childhood. His mom was rushed to hospital for stitches after his dad accidentally chainsawed her in the head while they were in their yard cutting a dead tree into pieces for disposal.

The saw had been stalling and then not stopping properly. The dad put down the saw, which then lurched forward and hit the mom in the head when she bent down to pick up a pile of branches. What a terrible shock for the kids when a neighbour called them back from the park! Thankfully the woman needed only a few stitches. It could have been so much worse – or even fatal.

My friend and I both agreed, talking about this family story so many years later, that they should have stopped as soon as the saw malfunctioned. Ah hindsight! But they were probably in a hurry to finish their job. They were absorbed in the task at hand and weren’t thinking about what could go wrong. That’s how it happens – how things can go terribly wrong – especially if we are frustrated by a task, excited by the outcome, or on too tight of a deadline.

Here’s a question to keep in mind before you start any project – at work or home: “Are you as safe as you think you are?” That’s the theme of NAOSH Week 2013 May 5 to 11, so please keep it in mind and discuss it with the DIY-ers in your life.


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