What’s the most important tool in the DIYer’s tool belt? Safety, of course.

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL)–the “Standard in Safety”–recently issued safety tips for the amateur and and veteran DIYer.

For the amateur DIYer:

  • Use the 4-to-1 rule for proper ladder placement. For every four feet of ladder height, the bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall or object it is leaning against.
  • As a rule, be sure to inspect your power tools. When taking your tools out of the tool box for the first time this spring, be sure to inspect them for frayed power cords and cracked or broken enclosures. If the product is damaged, have it repaired by a qualified technician, or replace it.
  • Before you mow, have the owner’s manual in tow. When pulling out the lawn mower for the first time this year, refresh your memory and read the owner’s manual. Especially, know how to stop the machine in case of an emergency.
  • And for the veteran DIYer:

  • Avoid overconfidence. Products are made for certain tasks and have safety features for specific reasons. Never try to use a product in a different way than it is intended, alter it, or remove safety features such as blade guards or electric plug grounding pins.
  • It takes two hands to use a power tool. Use clamps or a vise to hold work in place. It’s safer than using your hands and frees both to operate the tool. Even when using a conventional hand tool, be sure to watch where you place your hands.
  • Know your limits. Drengenberg (UL’s consumer safety director) says, “tackle only those DIY home improvement projects that you feel comfortable handling. Some projects are best left to trained professionals and are not worth the risk.”
  • More safety tips from the UL came be found on their consumer website.

    What projects are you taking on this spring?

    Credit: Underwriters Laboratories