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Tag: Safety Tips For Working Around The Home

Depicting hard hats, work gloves, face shield, safety goggles, hearing protection, and a dust mask for when you are doing physical work

Be Safe When Working Around Your Home

 Dear Mr. Electrician:  How safe is it for us to do construction work in our own home?  My wife and I recently purchased our first house.  It needs some work and we want to do as much of it as possible ourselves. Answer:  Know your limitations.  If you have no experience with working on a house and no one to guide you, I would say tread lightly.  It takes a certain amount of mechanical aptitude along with the proper knowledge and experience to safely work on a house successfully. If you are reading this around the holidays, then you should also read my post about holiday safety tips. When doing any job around the home, safety should be the first consideration.  Professional trades people have knowledge and perhaps training in how to be safe.  Some of that knowledge is derived from actual experiences with getting hurt.  I have an OSHA 30 hour safety card, meaning that I went through OSHA's approved construction safety training.  However I do not consider myself an expert on safety. I am constantly aware of unsafe practices and conditions on a job, but that doesn't mean accidents won't happen.  You must get into a mind set of thinking about, and including safety when planning to do work around the house.  Avoid unsafe short cuts.  Read my list below.  NOTE: Text links below go to applicable products on Amazon.com Safe Practices When Working Use a stepladder when working on the ceiling.  Do not stand on a pail, a chair, a countertop, a stack of milk crates, or the tub and toilet to perform work.  One bad fall can change your life forever.  I know that many households have step stools for daily use.  I do not recommend that a step stool be used when working around your home.  A four or five foot ladder should be used.  Taller ladders for higher ceilings.  Check the weight rating of a ladder before you purchase it. Shut off the power at the circuit breaker when working on electrical circuits and appliances.  In a normal situation, shutting off the wall switch may suffice, but you won't know if the light fixture or appliance was wired correctly and safely until you actually work on it.  Even with the circuit breaker off there is a possibility of current flowing on the neutral conductor due to it being shared on a multi-wire circuit or the wiring is not correct. The safest thing to do is to shut the power off to the entire house using the main circuit breaker in your electrical panel.  However even with the main breaker being off there is still a rare possibility that neutral current could still be flowing through your main electrical panel and grounding electrode connection.  It is inconvenient to shut power off to the entire house, but it is better than getting electrocuted.  Please note that I do not recommend that a novice work on electrical wiring.  The potential for creating a shock hazard or starting a fire is too great.  Some electrical...