Research by property maintenance solution provider, Help me Fix, reveals that there are 8,000 injuries and more than 70 deaths a year caused by people taking on dangerous DIY tasks that should always be left to a professional.
DIY can save homeowners a good amount of money. By tackling a job yourself, you don’t have to pay for a professional. However, regardless of how enticing the financial savings are, there are a lot of common DIY tasks that can end up costing you something far more valuable than cash: your health and even your life.
In 2020-21, NHS England treated 8,000 patients with injuries resulting from DIY. 5,600 were injured while using power hand tools while 2,700 injured themselves using manual tools like hammers and saws.
Separate data reveals that around 70 people a year actually die as a result of DIY accidents, while thousands are badly injured after, for example, slipping on spillages, falling from ladders, or trying to lift or move heavy objects.
With the cost of living crisis putting a squeeze on household finances, the nation’s homeowners are likely to take on more tasks around the home, rather than fork out for professional help. However, many DIY jobs are more complicated and more dangerous than they first seem, so while it’s tempting to try them yourself, calling a professional is always the best idea.
8 surprisingly dangerous DIY jobs that are best left to the pros
1. Wiring a socket
Too many people choose to tackle electrics and wiring jobs themselves, despite having no training and little experience. As a result, electrocutions are commonplace. In truth, the most a homeowner should have to do with their electrics is changing a lightbulb – the rest should be left to a professional.
2. Stripping old paintwork
It might seem like a simple, even therapeutic job to do, but stripping old paintwork can be dangerous because of the harmful chemicals that are released. The risk is particularly high if the paint dates from the 1970s or before because this is when paint was still lead-based. Even brief and low exposure to lead can cause significant health problems.
3. Sanding large surface areas
People don’t often think twice about sanding. But if it’s a big surface, such as a floor or patio decking, there is a real risk. Wood dust can contain high levels of silica/crystalline silica which can cause breathing difficulties and even lung disease.
4. Roof repairs
Too many people try to climb onto their roof and end up falling from it or the ladder resulting in broken bones and head injuries.
5. Knocking down internal walls
To achieve open-plan living, lots of people decide to knock down internal walls. The problem is that some people decide to do the work themselves and commence without gaining proper and professional guidance on the structural integrity of their home. As such, tragedy can strike when the property starts to collapse around them.
Quite simply, nobody should ever do any sort of DIY job that involves working with or close to the home’s gas supply. A trained, certified professional must be the only person to complete such work. There are no exceptions to this rule.
7. Fitting floors
Fitting a new floor yourself is always an enticing idea – seems straightforward enough. But, in reality, it requires a lot of skill just to cut floorboards to the correct shape, angle, and size and the power tools required cause frequent and sometimes life-changing injuries when not used properly.
8. Felling trees
Cutting down trees or high branches requires using dangerous tools at great heights. If not done safely and properly, the risk of injury is far too high to justify not hiring a professional tree surgeon.
Ettan Bazil, CEO and Founder of Help me Fix said:
“We’re all feeling the squeeze financially and so the thought of forking out for that expensive home repair probably isn’t that appealing for many homeowners right now. The danger, of course, is that they may turn to the do it yourself approach with the help of Google or YouTube tutorials, taking on jobs that could be dangerous for those without the proper professional knowledge.
We’re not telling people to avoid all DIY projects in the home. Putting up shelves, painting walls, hanging pictures and so on – that’s no problem. But if you’re scaling tall ladders, using powerful tools that you’ve never used before, or dealing with materials or substances that can cause harm, you need to be incredibly cautious. The financial savings pale in comparison to any kind of risk to your life or health and so it’s important to consider if you really can do it yourself before you give it a go.
It’s about common sense. If you’re an experienced hobbyist carpenter, familiar with using saws and drills, then you can probably take on more jobs than someone who doesn’t know a bandsaw from an orbital sander. Know yourself, know your skill level, and always call a professional if you don’t absolutely know what you’re doing.
If you’re in two minds, Help me Fix can help. We can connect you with a skilled tradesperson who can analyse the job in hand via video call, advising you on the best course of action and whether or not it should be best left to a professional.”