Construction is an extremely dangerous field that can lead to serious injuries — even fatalities. In fact, 15 out of every 100,000 construction workers die as a result of construction-related accidents. Though the dangers are certainly amplified in industrial settings, do-it-yourself home construction and renovation jobs can lead to life-altering injuries, as well.
According to a recent survey, about 51% of homeowners are planning on either beginning or continuing home renovation projects. Working with trusted contractors is generally recommended, especially for more advanced tasks, but plenty of homeowners still enjoy getting their hands dirty and doing the work themselves. During any kind of household renovation project, however, it’s imperative that you’re being as safe as possible.
Here are some dangerous things that can occur during household renovation projects:
Falls are the leading cause of unintentional home injury deaths, claiming nearly 6,000 lives per year. These falls can range from simply slipping out of the shower and hitting your head or while performing remodeling work on the roof or on a ladder. Because falls are so common and so dangerous, it’s important to always use a secure ladder when working up high, wear proper safety equipment, and have a friend or family member spot you. If you can’t get someone to help hold your ladder while you’re working, at the very least you should let a neighbor know so they can keep an eye out and make sure you don’t fall. Even if you do fall, having someone call 911 can end up saving your life.
Inhaling asbestos, lead, and other particles
Since 50% of the housing stock today is 37 years or older, most of these aging homes have roofs, furnaces, flooring, and appliances that have reached the end of their lives, meaning repairs are often needed and dangerous chemicals are likely lurking underneath. During your renovation project, you might be tearing apart walls, floors, and pulling out cabinets. This might end up unleashing a significant amount of toxic materials that can lead to serious health effects.
“Inhaling or swallowing even small amounts of lead or asbestos is extremely dangerous,” said Dan Barr, property restoration experts with 1-800 Water Damage. “Any time you remove walls or ceilings or do major work on floors, you run the risk of encountering both.”
In addition to lead and asbestos, other particles — like crystalline silica — could be extremely dangerous if inhaled. Inhaling crystalline silica particles can cause the following four health concerns: kidney disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and Silicosis, which is an incurable lung disease that often leads to disability and death.
To avoid inhaling any unwanted particles during your renovations, consider wearing a protective mask and consult with experienced professionals for major jobs.
Flooding and electrical issues
Even accidentally striking a water pipe during a remodeling task can result in dire consequences. For example, you could end up accidentally drilling a hole into your wall between your kitchen and your laundry room, puncturing your water pipe. Imagine working hard all day and taking a nice lunch break. By the time you get back, everything is flooded — including the space around your drill that’s still plugged in and all the other nearby appliances. That situation just got a lot worse.
In order to avoid these dangerous electrical problems, locate your home’s main electric panel and turn off the power right away if the flooding has already commenced.
There are all kinds of other dangers that are common during home remodeling projects, including power tool injuries, injuries from sharp objects, mold infestation, exposure to high-VOC materials, and hearing damages.
Whatever renovation project you’re planning on starting, make sure you’re being as careful as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for professional help!