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Monday, June 17, 2024

Safety first when starting home improvement projects

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As Central Indiana gets a break from the extreme heat that has gripped the Midwest this past summer, many people may be turning their attention to the do-it-yourself home improvement projects that they have been avoiding. While these projects can be fun and save you money, they can also cause injury if not done properly. 

According to the Home Safety Council, in a single year, over 330,000 people make trips to an emergency department due to injuries from do-it-yourself home improvement projects. Trauma surgeons at the IU/Wishard Level I Trauma Center stress that it is important to take the necessary precautions when starting such projects.

“Some of the more frequent injuries we see at Wishard are falls from ladders and roofs and injuries from power tools,” said Dr. Clark Simons, a trauma surgeon at the IU/Wishard Level I Trauma Center and associate professor of clinical surgery at the IU School of Medicine. “Many of these types of injuries can be avoided by just following very simple safety advice.”

Dr. Simons stressed that even the simplest projects can result in major trauma so make sure you take extra precaution and never attempt to do something without following proper safety warnings.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, each year more than 2.6 million individuals are hospitalized, 37.2 million seek emergency treatment and 60.5 million people seek medical attention or lose at least one day of normal activity as a result of an accident.

Here are some safety tips to follow when attempting to complete do-it-yourself projects:

  • Always have a first aid kit near the area you are working in. It could be the difference between a speedy recovery and a permanent injury. 
  • Use a sturdy ladder when climbing. Falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths. 
  • Read the directions on the chemical or tool you may be using. Improper use can cause damage to your project, your tools and yourself. 
  • If directions call for you to wear goggles, ear plugs, mask, hard hat or gloves, do so. 
  • • Do not wear clothing or jewelry that can become caught in the machine or tool you are using. 
  • Unplug power tools if you need to walk away from the job, even if it is just for a moment. 
  • When working on an electrical circuit, make sure the circuit is not live or attached to an electrical source. If you are not familiar with working on an electrical circuit, call a professional. 
  • Always plan out your task in advance. This will help you accomplish your goal safely and well.

Medical experts at Wishard stress that it is important to take it slow, establish a plan of action, and never cut corners or rush a project. Unless you are a highly skilled do-it-yourselfer, avoid taking on jobs that may be dangerous, difficult, a first time project or where a mistake can be costly. Think twice before taking on such projects as roofing; difficult or laborious work, including removing or pouring concrete; plumbing that involves crawling under the house; and electrical work.

The IU/Wishard Trauma Center treats more than 2,500 injured patients each year and became the first verified Level I trauma center in the state in 1992. It remains one of only two adult Level I trauma centers in Indiana. A Level I trauma center is a comprehensive regional resource that is central to the trauma system. Trauma centers verified as Level I are capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury, from prevention to rehabilitation. Level I trauma centers are committed to injury prevention, public education and continuing training of the trauma team members, as well as continued improvement through a comprehensive quality assessment program and an organized research effort to help direct new innovations in trauma care.



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