Do-it-yourself is all about beautiful and useful things, about pride in your work and a meaningful pastime. However, dangers lurk wherever tools are used. Many of these can be avoided by judicious use of materials and tools, but it also requires one appropriate to the circumstances and task at hand protective gear to. That points to that info center R+V Versicherung – and gives a series of tips that you can use to protect yourself as a do-it-yourselfer in the house and workshop.
Clothing and shoes are some of the most important pieces of equipment, and in many cases the recommendations for these are easy to follow. For example, tight-fitting tops should be worn when working with a jigsaw, circular saw or band saw. The purpose behind this: under unfortunate circumstances, loose fabrics, loose straps or straps and the like can get caught in the machine and then pull hands, arms or other body parts towards the running saw blade. This rule should also be remembered for other work, such as turning.
Just like loose clothing, scarves, neckerchiefs or jewelery are dangerous if they come into contact with machines. Better not. However, you should wear sturdy shoes. If you drop a machine or a heavy workpiece, your feet are better protected. Safety goggles are also useful when chips fly – there are now very comfortable models that can be worn with normal glasses if necessary. However, Torben Thorn, occupational safety expert at the R+V Infocenter, advises against gloves when using the saws mentioned, as well as when working with drills and belt sanders: gloves could also get caught in the machines.
It’s a good idea to get a basic set of work clothes that you can access quickly when you need them. This could include, for example, the classic overalls made of flame-retardant fabric. Such equipment also has the advantage that everyday clothing stays clean and is not damaged.
Special case chainsaw
Motorized chain saws represent a special field for accident prevention, including those with electric motors and battery drives. The saw chain works very quickly and powerfully through the material, and this also endangers the user. Even if you have been thoroughly instructed in how to use the tool and have possibly already gained some experience with it, cut protection pants are mandatory, and cut protection gloves and boots are also useful. Numerous thin but very stable fibers are incorporated into these garments. As soon as the chainsaw cuts into the fabric, the fibers get caught in the chain links and bring the saw to a standstill in a very short time.
To protect against the loud working noise and flying splinters, eyes and ears must also be protected. If you work in the garden or in the forest, a helmet against falling branches is also recommended. A so-called forest helmet, which has a transparent visor as eye protection and integrated ear protection capsules, is very practical – this way you can take three protective measures at the same time.
Hearing and respiratory protection
Anyone who has ever coughed from inhaling dust or sawdust will immediately understand the purpose of a dust mask. For dusty work, such as sawing or grinding, you should therefore make it a habit to wear a filter mask. If used seldom, a simple disposable mask is sufficient, if used regularly or for a longer period of time, more professional equipment makes sense, which is often more comfortable to wear. You can get such masks in every hardware or hobby store and also in building materials stores. Take your time when shopping and get advice on which dusts and other substances the respective mask is suitable for.
Do-it-yourself jobs often also affect your ears, because some tools can get very loud. The R+V expert points out that circular saws can generate a sound pressure level of up to 100 dB. That’s about as loud as a jackhammer – and just as damaging to your ears. If you don’t have to work with noisy machines too often, you can use earplugs, such as those available in drugstores and supermarkets. However, if you use them more frequently, it is worth buying earmuffs. In the event of work interruptions, it can be quickly removed and then put back on again. It is best to try it on before you buy it, then you will also notice whether the respective model fits comfortably. [ha]
Photo: R+V Insurance