DIY is practically a national pastime for UK citizens. There is widespread interest in picking up skills when it comes to regular household work, whether refurbishment or decoration; interest in DIY skyrocketed when the coronavirus pandemic confined us to our homes and has been incentivized yet further by the current squeeze on household budgets.
While putting up a shelf or two may be a simple enough task for the budding DIYer, larger tasks require harder skills and more equipment to carry out effectively and efficiently. But many make the mistake of investing in tools and materials first, without considering what is arguably the most important part of any home construction or refurbishment project: safety.
Safety should be a chief concern, especially for those relatively new to specific disciplines within DIY. According to NHS data, more than 5,500 accident hospital attendances were directly due to contact with a powered hand tool – with a further 2,700 linked to contact with non-powered hand tools. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a useful provision for promoting safe DIY – but what items should you invest in to improve your work?
Light is everything when it comes to DIY. At the very least, you need to be able to see what you are doing – and all the better if you can properly illuminate your working area for ease of focus. Portable lighting is not personal protective equipment per se but can reduce the likelihood of an accident or mistake greatly.
Head torches are a great option for work both indoors and outdoors, as the light shines where you are looking and ensure that whatever endeavor you are undertaking is well-lit. There are also hybrid head-torch hats that can provide heat insulation in cold weather, or protection from flying and falling objects.
Gloves are an essential provision for personal safety, especially when working with non-powered hand tools or deforming materials. Cut-resistant work gloves enable you to work safely with knives and saws and to avoid injury when handling sharp edges of materials such as sheet metal.
Gloves are also useful for protecting your skin from other kinds of dangerous material. Epoxy resins and other glues can have an irritant effect, and should only be handled when wearing nitrile gloves. Likewise, solvents and spirits used in DIY may have a corrosive impact on the skin and should be handled carefully.
Lastly, and perhaps unconventionally, you should consider investing in kneeling pads. A lot of DIY work involves time spent on the floor, measuring timber, or accessing difficult-to-reach areas. This can cause a lot of joint strain, as well as bruising on the knees – affecting your balance and sturdiness.
Kneeling pads give you comfort and security, and can also be used to your benefit. Carpet fitters use kneeling pads to strike carpet stretchers, to create a tight, well-fitting finished carpet.