Holiday season DIY planned? Find out how to stay safe

December 23, 2016

From sun burn to over-eating, over-spending to over-drinking, it could be said the silly season presents us with a minefield of risk. It’s also known as ‘home-improvement season’ exposing us to even more risks to navigate.

From sun burn to over-eating, over-spending to over-drinking, it could be said the silly season presents us with a minefield of risk. It's also known as 'home-improvement season' exposing us to even more risks to navigate.  

Understanding the hazards DIY renovators face, SAI Global's top advice for those with 'home improvement' on the things-to-do list these holidays is definitely to wear protective gear - but not all protective gear is created equal. Many consumers wrongly assume safety products such as hard hats, safety glasses, respirator masks, hearing protectors, safety harnesses and safety footwear meet mandatory standards but this is not always the case. 

Some retailers continue to stock personal protective equipment that fails to meet the rigorous safety and personal protection standards set out by relevant standards bodies meaning that if you wear it, you may still be at risk.

To ensure you're safe, check the safety products you are planning to buy have SAI Global's Five Ticks 'Certified Product' StandardsMark™. To earn the right to use it, manufacturers must be able to prove to independent SAI Global auditors that they meet rigorous domestic and international quality and safety standards and criteria.

Knowing that many people will be embarking on DIY home improvements these holidays, here are some other top tips to help keep you out of the hospital's Accident & Emergency department.

1. Ask an expert. While all equipment looks the same, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is going to do what you need. For example, a particular respirator mask may only be compatible with certain chemicals or materials. Before handing over your credit card, always check with the retail team and let them know exactly what you need to achieve. Don't take a gamble when it comes to tools and chemicals.

2. Purchase certified safety equipment only. This equipment will be branded with an appropriate certification mark or Standards reference. It should include the name of the organisation, the date it was certified and a certification licence number. Not all products that claim to be certified are certified to a Standard so to be safe, look out for the Five Ticks 'Certified Product' StandardsMark™.

3. Be careful when buying second hand. Do you really know what that piece of equipment has been through? For example, a hard hat may look okay, but if it's been left out in the sun every day, the chances are that its protection is nowhere near the level it should be due to strong UV rays, weakening its shell. If you can afford to, when it comes to personal protection, try to purchase new.

4. Work with a partner. Along with making it more fun, a second set of eyes to help keep an eye on you or be able to jump to your assistance if required is a great idea. Sharing the work load also ensures you finish more quickly to leave you more time for relaxing by the barbecue.

5. If you're tired, stop driving and stop drilling! Just as it's tempting to keep driving until you reach your destination or to continue on a project well into the night until it's completed, this is the prime time for mistakes and accidents to happen. Make sure you're always feeling refreshed with a clear head before you start. If you're only a fraction of the way through the job but feel distracted or drowsy, then stop, clear away any hazards such as cables, tools or debris and take a break.  

SAI Global wishes everyone a happy holiday season and hopes all DIY-ers stay safe while beautifying their homes. 

About SAI Global: 
SAI Global makes Intelligent Risk possible. The Company helps organisations proactively manage risk to achieve business excellence, growth, sustainability and ultimately, create trust. SAI Global's integrated advisory, services and platforms operate across the entire lifecycle allowing businesses to focus on opportunities presented by uncertainty. Their solutions include risk management software, standards and regulatory content, ethics and compliance learning, risk assessments, certification, testing and audits. In Australia, SAI Global are also a leading provider of settlement related services; company, personal and property information.