DIY Renovation Accidents in Australia

In a house-proud nation awash with home renovation TV shows, many of us will be taking the opportunity during this enforced downtime to undertake some DIY home improvements.

However, according to a report published by the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare, the great Aussie love affair with home renovations is also keeping emergency departments at hospitals busy. At this critical time in Australia, our health services are under immense pressure so the last thing they need is an increase in people presenting to the emergency department as a  result of DIY accidents.

So what do we need watch out for? How are we getting injured? Who is getting injured? And, what can we do to protect ourselves during DIY renovations?

Quick Facts

  • 13 people in every 100,000 are hospitalised as a result of a DIY injury
  • Falling from a ladder is the most common cause of DIY injury
  • The second most common DIY injury is contact with powered hand tools
  • An incredible 81% of DIY injured people are male
  • Men aged over 45 are the most likely to get injured

The Number One Cause of DIY Injuries – FALLS

Every year, Aussies are getting hospitalised after falling from a ladder more often than any other type of DIY injury.

Falls are the leading cause of injury, often resulting in serious injuries including broken bones, vertebrae fractures, open wounds, and even head injuries including concussion. But it is not just ladders that we are falling off. We are also falling from scaffolding, falling thru buildings or structures, and even falling from trees (presumably this is while lopping/pruning).

One alarming statistic is that the most likely person to be hospitalised as a result of a DIY-related fall is a man over the age of 45, falling off a ladder. Could this be you, or your husband, or Dad?

How to Avoid Becoming a FALL statistic

Consider alternatives such as:

  1. Hire a qualified tradesperson for high risk jobs that involve heights. If that is not possible, then perhaps the task can wait.
  2. Ask yourself, can you use a step stool instead of a ladder?
  3. Is a ladder the best tool for the job? For example, if you are cleaning gutters, perhaps a long-handled device would be better?
  4. If you must work at heights, consider setting up a stable work platform or scaffold instead of using a ladder.

Second Major Cause of Injuries – Power Tools

Injuries from the use of power tools and machinery can be very serious, most commonly causing hospitalisation because of open wounds and fractures. According to statistics, Almost 70% of DIY injuries caused by tools and machinery were to the wrist and hand with partial or complete amputation of a finger occurring in just over 10% of cases. Ouch!

The top 3 Power tools that caused the most injuries are:

  1. Power Saw
  2. Power Grinder
  3. Chainsaw

While these are the most common tools, other tools such as handsaws, power drills, nail guns and woodworking machinery are also regular causes.

Why do power tool accidents happen?

Most power tools are operating at a high speed. When things happen, they usually happen quickly. When a sudden grab or kickback from the tool occurs, it doesn’t take much for your hand to get in the way of the tool almost instantaneously, before you even have time to react.

How can you avoid a nasty power tool accident?

Read the manual. Accidents can occur when you are not familiar with the tool. Make sure you know how the tool works and how to turn it off quickly. The manual should include safety information. Read it and understand it. There may be recommendations around guarding, personal protective clothing and equipment and for the work environment. Take note and don’t take shortcuts.

If you are not confident, put your health first and outsource the task to a trained professional. If this is not an option right now, then wait.

Happy Renovating and Stay safe!