Get the gear to stay safe on the job
While working on house renovations, you need to protect yourself from injury caused by noise, dust, sharp edges, dangerous mechanisms, and chemicals when using tools. Safety equipment for hand, eye, ear, and breathing protection are all readily available from hardware stores and specialist safety equipment companies.
General tips for working safely with tools include:
Keep tools well maintained with good cutting edges.
Only use them for their correct purpose.
Use a dust mask when cutting or sanding.
Use eye protection. Wear ear muffs. Always use a residual current device (see below) when using power tools.
Working with electricity
Follow these guidelines when working with electricity:
Always use a residual current device (see below) when using electrical equipment outdoors, or close to any damp areas.
Always turn off the power before replacing fuses, light switches or other power outlets.
Take extreme care when working outside around overhead or underground power lines – disconnect the power if working near supply lines.
Avoid overloading circuits by having too many tools or appliances running at the same time.
Inspect appliance cords and extension leads for signs of damage – check the plug and socket for loose/ frayed connections and poor cord anchorages.
You can do a limited amount of electrical work yourself, but for all other work use a licensed electrician.
Residual current devices
Residual current devices (RCDs) have superseded isolating transformers. An RCD constantly monitors the electric current flowing along a circuit.
If someone touches a live wire or faulty appliance, providing a route for the electricity to flow through them to the ground, the RCD senses the loss of current and quickly shuts off the electricity to reduce the chance of serious injury.
These are very useful when using power tools, where it is easy to accidentally slice through the power cord.
Always use an RCD when using electrical equipment outside and always test the device before you start – press the test button to make sure it’s working properly.
RCDs are available in several forms:
Be safe: Safety equipment for eye, ear, and breathing protection when using tools are all readily available from hardware stores and specialist safety equipment companies.