Friday, May 9, 2014

Mike Holmes: Safety Sense for DIYers

D-I-Y. Three letters that strike both fear and excitement in homeowners all over the globe. As a rule of thumb, Mike Holmes is typically against most DIY projects. Why? Because many homeowners lack the know-how to do the job safely and correctly. When it comes to large projects, Mike recommends that people leave it to the pros, but for small jobs such as painting and minor repairs, it's important to take the right precautions before doing it yourself. Mike Holmes has told the story before about a mishap with a table saw that nearly cost him his sight. When he was 22 years old, he ran a board with a knot in it through a table saw, and a chunk of wood flew at his face, hitting him just below his eye. The incident left him with a shiner, and also taught him the importance of using safety equipment such as safety glasses. Regardless of the task, if there's dust and debris flying through the air, you should be protecting your eyes. DIY projects, big and small, can be dangerous, so it's important to use some safety sense before tackling a job. If it's loud, protect your ears. If there's debis or fumes in the air, protect your eyes and lungs. If it's sharp, wear gloves. Safety is a no-brainer, and it takes very little time and effort to use some basic PPE (personal protective equipment). There's no excuse for not taking appropriate precautions, especially when the consequences for not doing so could be grave.
From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: Safety sense for DIYers

No job too small to take precautions

With spring here, many of you will be starting to take on home projects. My advice: Leave the bigger, more complicated jobs to the professionals, because you could do more damage than good.
Planning minor projects around the house — such as painting, drywall repairs, finishes, trim work or even gardening? You might think a small job isn’t dangerous, but no job is safe without the right protection and protocols. Follow these tips to stay safe:
Wear safety gear. If you’re sawing, sanding or drilling you’ll need protective eyewear and a respirator, especially if there’s debris and dust flying around. There are different respirators for different jobs — make sure you wear the right one. Also, if you’re using loud tools you’ll need ear plugs or earmuffs (not the kind you wear in winter.) Don’t wait to lose your hearing to start protecting it!
Don’t use gas-powered tools in enclosed areas. You need plenty of ventilation, and opening a window or door isn’t going to cut it. No amount of carbon monoxide (CO) is safe. People have suffered serious neurological damage because they didn’t know better.
Beware hazardous fumes. Some people think because a label has “green” on it the product is safe. Not the case. Look at paints. The label might say it’s low-VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or VOC-free, but the pigment added to it could contain VOCs. Also, a VOC-free label doesn’t mean you can paint with the doors closed.
Always make sure you have enough ventilation and always use the right respirator, no matter how small the job or the type of paint you use.
Consider asbestos. Considering doing repairs to plaster or stucco in a home built before 1980? Be careful; it could contain asbestos. If it does, don’t disturb it — that means no sanding, no chipping, no chiselling, nothing. Disturbing asbestos releases tiny asbestos fibres into the air. If you breathe them in they get lodged in your lungs.
We stopped using asbestos in the late 1970s, but it can be found in many homes built or renovated before then. It can be in attic insulation (vermiculite), ceilings tiles, drywall, plaster, textured paints, vinyl tiles — including the adhesives used to install them — and insulation around pipes, ducts and hot water tanks.
If you’re not sure if your home has asbestos, call in a professional testing and abatement company.
Wear proper clothing.No shorts and sandals. Wear steel-toe work boots when doing landscaping or moving heavy stones. Too many broken or injured feet could have been avoided. Wear proper clothing made from thick material, like duck canvas, because even while doing simple jobs you can walk by something sharp. Use knee pads — you’ll appreciate it when you’re older.
And keep your hair tied back — guys too — especially when using power tools. Make sure you can see what you’re doing and nothing is in your way.
Keep it clean. One day I was helping my dad gut a room and the floor got completely covered with garbage. My dad told me to stop and clean it up, but I was almost done so I told him I’d clean up later. I needed to pull down the rest of the ceiling so I grabbed a chair. What I didn’t know was one of the legs was standing on top of debris that was covering a hole in the floor for the heat register.
When I stood on the chair the leg went through the hole and I hit the ground. The first thing my dad asked was if I was OK. The second thing was, “Does that teach you anything?”
Safety is a no-brainer. How long does it take to put on safety gloves, safety glasses and a respirator? Now think about how long you would have to live with the consequences of an accident, or breathing in toxic chemicals or debris? There’s no comparison.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit

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