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February 10, 2013

A studio shot of a standard construction safety equipment

I recently returned from a meeting for the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) where we were reminded about job safety. Hearing some of the things I already knew (but wasn’t necessarily doing), made me think about making some changes in my daily habits. Again.

The information I was given was more for contractors but it made me wonder how many of you DIY’ers have gotten lax in your safety precautions also. Hmmmmm. Wonder how many of you remember these things AND do them?

  1. Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (one that has been inspected yearly)
  2. Know the tools in your toolbox, what they are made for, and only use them for that reason
  3. Keep your knives and tools with sharp blades – in a safe place, and sharp
  4. Know and use the 4-to-1 rule for ladders (bet you don’t even know what that is, do you?) – it is designed to remind you that when you are using a straight ladder you are supposed to position the ladder base 1ft away from the wall for every 4ft of ladder height (ladder safety is my worst) – oh, and you don’t stand on the top or next-to-the-top step on a ladder (smirk)
  5. Remember to check to be sure the power is OFF before you plug or unplug an electrical appliance or tool into the electrical outlet (you could lose a finger or two if it is on and starts spinning out of control. I have seen this and it is NOT pretty)
  6. Have the numbers for the poison center, emergency personnel, and your point of contact where someone (including you) can find them in case of emergency
  7. Know that you should only use rubber handled tools when doing any electrical work (as well as rubber soled shoes)
  8. Know that a hard hat has an expiration date (oh – you don’t wear them at home, do you? – guess that was for me). I never knew this before this weekend.
  9. Know that not cleaning out the lint filter and dryer exhaust hose can lead to a house fire
  10. Know that to lift a heavy object you should bend at the knees, hold the load close to your body, and then use your legs (not your arms) to lift the load.

I could go on and on with more of these but I need to stop at 10 because I don’t want you to get overwhelmed and not do any of them. Really, when was the last time you saw a “Mr. Yuck” sticker or looked at your emergency contact list? I can tell you that for me it has been at least 10 years. And yes, I do have visitors with little kids who come to my house, and yes, I have had an accident where I needed my doctor’s number and could not find it. So, enough said.

Here’s to you being a prepared and safe, DIY woman. Hold on to that hammer!

Jo Ellen Soesbee, the ToolBox TomGirl

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