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17 September 2014
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Before embarking on a DIY project, it's essential that you take the proper safety precautions. Remember that, if in doubt, always consult a professional. Here are some tips to help your home improvements go smoothly and safely.

Safety tips

  1. GogglesWear protective clothing including safety goggles, gloves and dust mask when working with potentially hazardous materials such as glass or spray paint. It is also advisable to wear a mask when working in a dusty environment e.g. sawing wood or MDF.
  2. When painting, or using any material that generates toxic fumes or dust, keep the room well ventilated. Never smoke while painting or standing close to a freshly painted area.
  3. Always use the correct tools for the job. It is worth investing in high quality equipment as this will be safer and will probably do the job quicker.
  4. Store tools in a safe place, out of the way of children and pets. Keep them in a box or a rack.
  5. When using knives, always cut away from you. Use a baton as a guide and run a sharp knife along the edge of it. Always store knives securely.
  6. When fixing or checking electrical appliances or connections, always switch off the power and remove the fuse or circuit breaker (MCB). If you're fixing an electrical appliance, switch off the appliance at the socket and pull out the plug. Wear rubber-soled shoes when working on electrics.
  7. Always keep a chemical fire extinguisher in the house. Never use water to put out a fire in an electrical appliance. Gas and electrical work is best left to a registered professional.
  8. MaskWhen using a power drill, choose a model that has a plastic non-conducting body. Unplug the drill before fitting parts and remove the chuck key before switching it on. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewellery, which could get caught in the drill.
  9. Ladders are one of the main causes of DIY accidents. Erect the ladder according to the manufacturer's instructions. Never lean to one side as you could lose balance.
  10. Don't rush as you're more likely to have an accident. Carefully plan the job before you start work. Know your limitations and consult a professional if you are unsure. It's also a good idea to ask someone if they can help you.
  11. Take extra care when removing artex or textured paint from walls as these materials may contain asbestos. Safety precautions must be followed when handling and disposing of asbestos. Contact your local environmental health department for advice.

Useful organisations


Federation of Master Builders
14/15 Great James Street
London WC1N 3DP
Tel: 020 7242 7583

Builders' Merchants Federation
15 Soho Square
London W1D 3HL
Tel:0870 9013380

Association of Building Engineers
Lutyens House
Billing Brook Road
Weston Favell
Northampton NN3 8NW
Tel: 01604 404121


National Federation of Roofing Contractors
24 Weymouth Street
London W1G 7LX
Tel: 020 7436 0387


Glass and Glazing Federation
44-48 Borough High Street
London SE1 1XB
Tel: 0870 042 4255


Institute of Plumbing
64 Station Lane
Essex RM12 6NB
Tel: 01708 472791

Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors
Ensign House
Ensign Business Centre
Westwood Way
Coventry CV4 8JA
Tel: 0800 5426060

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