9 home maintenance tools for safe DIY

Guest writer Dakota Murphey outlines nine useful home DIY tools and how to use them safely

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It is important for every homeowner to have a full selection of maintenance tools for use in DIY but it is also vital that you know how to use them correctly. More than 100,000 people need to visit hospital every year with injuries relating to DIY, so it’s essential that you should only ever use appropriate equipment that you feel completely confident with. Here are nine key home maintenance tools and how to use them safely to ensure you carry out your DIY in a danger-free environment.

1. Step ladder

Undoubtedly some of the most common DIY injuries occur due to falls from ladders. And this is usually because people don’t follow simple safety instructions to minimise the risk. Some homeowners assume that because a step ladder is only small, they can simply get on and sort out the job quickly, but this can put you in danger. Step ladder safety is easy when you do it right: first check the feet and the bars before use to ensure they are in good enough condition to work on, if they you can then set up the ladder correctly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

2. Extension ladder

Additionally, of course, you should only use a step ladder when it is appropriate, and if you are having to reach up higher than is comfortable, it is likely that you need to use an extension ladder instead. In any case, having an extension ladder is vital for carrying out DIY tasks around the house, so you should definitely invest in one. Check the ladder is in good condition before each use and only ever use the ladder according to the instructions provided. Follow the same advice with a step ladder – if you can’t reach the task comfortably, you’re going to need a taller ladder.

3. Claw hammer

A claw hammer is one of the most basic and essential DIY tools that can come in useful in a huge variety of situations – most commonly to hammer in nails. Unfortunately this is also one of the likeliest places for you to injure yourself while carrying out work around the house. If you want to avoid a hospital visit with a nasty finger injury, make sure you know how to use your hammer properly. Firstly, ensure that you only ever use your hammer on a flat surface and that you work in a natural position where your arm can extend at the elbow, rather than using the wrist.

4. Adjustable wrench

This is a basic DIY tool that needs to be a component is every home’s toolkit. Less obviously risky than a hammer, usually the biggest danger for a wrench is in not using it correctly which can cause you to slip and injure your hands. The first thing you should do is to check your wrench before you use it to ensure it’s in good condition. You can then loosen the wrench, fit it around the bolt, then tighten it thoroughly. You can then pull the wrench firmly without worrying that the grip will loosen.

5. Cordless drill

Undoubtedly some of the most dangerous forms of equipment used in DIY are power tools. For basic jobs you may not need a large number of electrical tools, but one that is very common is cordless drill. With any kind of power tool it’s good to follow the safety instructions that professionals use in order to minimise your risk of injury. Even if you are only carried out a small task that doesn’t take much time, power tools can be extremely dangerous if they are used incorrectly or dropped, so never take any chances.

6. Utility knife

As you might expect from the name, a utility knife has a huge variety of uses in DIY. These are very sharp blades with the obvious potential for injury. Remember initially that blade should always stay retracted when it is not in use. Leaving the blade exposed is an unnecessary hazard. When you are using the knife for any task you should always ensure that no part of your body is within the cutting line and that you are completely focused on the task at hand. Finally, always work on a completely stable and clear surface.

7. Multibit screwdriver

Another multipurpose tool, the most important thing to remember with your multibit screwdriver is that you should only ever use the correct part for the job. This will minimise any risk of injury.

8. Locking pliers

Pliers will also find a huge range of uses around the house and using then sensibly can ensure that you stay safe. Firstly, you should never attempt to use pliers for another tool’s job. Whether it’s as a makeshift hammer or a wrench, this will only end up damaging the pliers. Additionally, do not try to use pliers that are not suitable for the job. There are many different varieties of pliers, and if you need a larger model you shouldn’t attempt a job without them.

9. PPE

Finally, it should be pointed out that high quality personal protection equipment (PPE) is vital for carrying out any kind of DIY safely. Having the correct tools won’t make a difference if you are not wearing appropriate gear. The right kind of PPE will depend on the task you are carrying out but as a rule you should own gloves, sturdy footwear, eye protection, ear defenders and a dust mask. Don’t consider this an exhaustive list – use any PPE that is relevant to the job.

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Story by: Dakota Murphey – Guest writer

04 Dec, 2017

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