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Men's Health

Don’t Be a Home Improvement Disaster

Before you take on a home improvement project, make sure you know how to do it safely.
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Do-It-Yourself Safety Tips

Here are some WebMD-approved tips on staying safe while you do-it-yourself:

Take your time. "Rushing is part of being unsafe," Zenarosa says. "You are probably trying to cram a lot into a weekend and end up trying to do more than you should in one day." Make sure you are adequately rested before you take on a new project, because the more fatigued you are, the more likely you are to get hurt.

Be saw savvy. "All it takes is a split second to lose your fingers," Zenarosa says. "Remember to leave the safety guards on the saw and make sure that the plug is out when it is not in use. Never cut on unstable surfaces."

Watch your eyes. "Wear some form of eye protection anytime you turn on a drill or any machine," says Angela Mickalide, PhD, the director of education and outreach for the Home Safety Council, a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit group that aims to prevent home-related injuries. "Look for a pair that has been impact-tested."

Even wear safety glasses when you are hammering, says home improvement guru Barbara K, the founder of Barbara K Enterprises Inc., a New York City-based company that helps women do it themselves. "Bits of metal or other objects can fly in your face when you least expect it, even with the most basic do-it-yourself projects."

Learn these ladder lessons. "Falling off of ladders is a leading cause of injury and fatalities whether they happen doing a do-it-yourself project, decorating a holiday tree, or trying to change the batteries in your smoke detector," Mickalide says. There are 150,000 ladder-related injuries in the home every year, according to statistics compiled by the Home Safety Council.

"These injuries can be severe and [occur] mostly to legs, arms, and torso," she says.

Though ladders can be dangerous, they are far safer than standing on a piece of furniture, chair, or bureau to get work done, she says. "You want to make sure the ladder is on level ground and the side locks are engaged," she says. "Always face the ladder when you are climbing it."

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