While we’re at home during this strange period of time, many of us are getting around to those jobs that we have never had time to do; tidy the loft, mow the lawn, decorate the spare room etc.
At some point you may think “I know, I’ll try and clean the gutter, clean the roof, have a look at where the loose slates are, clean the upstairs windows or even try and fell that tree in the garden.”
Most households lack the vast selection of tools or equipment needed for these jobs. At best they will have a medium sized ladder and toolbox. With this in mind, corners are cut and an ‘’it will be fine” attitude is taken.
All of these tasks, and many others that seem to be everyday home maintenance, all involve working at height. They can, and have, resulted in many serious injuries or even worse. Accidents at home are responsible for approximately 6000 deaths annually, with falls being the most common.
Domestic falls from height are extremely common, from standing on chairs changing light bulbs to falling from roofs and trees.
With us all spending more time at home in the next few weeks these figures are likely to rise. Emergency services are already stretched beyond capacity with the present situation. We all need to make a sensible decision as to whether a DIY project is safe or not.
Consider your safety when completing jobs at home
It’s easy to leave home maintenance to a professional, but when it comes to our homes, we like to do things ourselves and DIY is more popular than ever.
Please just ask yourself a few questions before you begin, to ensure you and others are safe. Some things to consider would be:
- Do you have the correct tools for the project?
- Are all tools in good working order?
- Do you need to run cables for power/jet wash to the work site? (A cable will create other hazards to consider.)
- Do you have safe access and egress from the project area?
Other safety considerations for working from height at home
Ensure you have a specific cordoned area underneath your work area, so falling objects do not hit anyone or anything below.
Is the weather suitable? It may seem still on the ground, but it could be extremely windy on the roof of your house, or up a tree.
Avoid working at height on your own – make sure you have someone with you.
Ensure someone (who is not working on the project with you) knows where you are and what you are doing.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but if you do carry out any of these projects, please consider these actions and questions so you don’t put any added pressure on our NHS.