National Electrical Safety Month: Practice Safety When DIY-ing

These days, many of us are spending more time at home and finding new, creative ways to enhance our living space. Tackling do-it-yourself projects for the home can be fun and cost-effective. Whether you’re painting the front door with a fresh hue or finally upgrading patio lights, successfully completing a DIY home project is incredibly satisfying. But many of these projects come without risks. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as you get to work.

  • Start by selecting a designated work area. The amount of space you need depends on the size and scope of your project. Make sure you have adequate lighting and ventilation, if necessary. Required tools and equipment should be located in your workspace and organized for easy access.
  • Personal protective equipment is your friend. We know you are a pro, but investing a few bucks in PPE is essential for most home projects. Stock up on safety goggles, dust masks, earplugs or noise-reduction ear protectors, gloves, and any other protection you will need for your project. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Ditch the sandals.
  • Work slowly, and clean as you go. When you rush through a DIY project, you are likely to end up with less desirable results than you intended, or worse, you could make a costly or dangerous mistake. Take your time and remember you are in control of the project. You should also clean as you go to ensure a safer workspace. Pick up scrap materials, tools not in use, and any tripping hazards.
  • Be cautious with power tools. Annually, 8% of electrocutions in the U.S. are attributed to improper use of power tools. The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers the following safety tips:
    • Use ground fault circuit interrupters with every power tool to protect against electrical shock.
    • Never use power tools near live electrical wires or water pipes.
    • Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated.
    • If a power tool trips a safety device while in use, take the tool to a manufacturer-authorized repair center for service.
    • Do not use power tools without proper guards.
    • When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electrical shock.

Remember, you should only tackle DIY home projects within your skill and comfort level. For projects that require extensive electrical work, we strongly recommend you hire a licensed, qualified electrician for assistance.