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Home renovations and DIY - do you know the risks?


With the ever-popular resurgence of Do It Yourself (DIY) television shows, Australians are gripped by renovation and makeover fever. Anything from knocking down the odd wall to full-on home renovations, the list is endless as to improvements you can make in and around your home.

At times these DIY jobs will require the help of your family and friends or even tradespeople. How can you ensure that anyone who enters your property are kept safe?

Top five renovation health risks

  1. Asbestos: care should be taken if renovating a house built between 1950 – 1990 as this was the prime era of asbestos use, which can be found in the walls, pipes, ducts and floor coverings in houses from this time.
  2. Lead: the use of lead was common in the 19th century, often in paint products. Lead paint is at its most dangerous when cracked or peeling, as the damage can create a dust that carries the contaminated materials into the air. 
  3. Mould: spores can create ongoing respiratory concerns when inhaled. 
  4. Dust: even when it doesn’t carry harmful chemicals or materials, dust is a hazard.
  5. Fumes: these can come from paint, surface adhesives like glue, and stains for timber.

Facts about Aussie DIY injuries

According to Monash University, Accident Research Centre, Department of Human Services and Health (1999) Prevention of Injuries associated with Do-It-Yourself activities.

  • 30% of all adult injuries in Australia occur in the home and garden.
  • Home injuries result in more time off work than workplace injuries.
  • If the principles of workplace OH&S were applied to home DIY, such as using the correct tools and lifting techniques, it would prevent many home injuries.
  • Young men aged between 20 to 39 years old are the most commonly injured in home DIY accidents.  
  • The most common injuries are lacerations and wounds from foreign bodies and operating machinery, followed by musculoskeletal injuries, such as lower back pain, shoulder and elbow complaints.

Getting your mates to help out

There is nothing wrong with having your family or friends come around to your place and help with DIY renovations and odd jobs, in fact, it’s commonplace most weekends. But you should be mindful of everyone’s safety and ensure that serious injuries don’t occur.
Renovation based injury is commonly associated with falling from a stool or ladder, lacerations from power tools and inhalation of dangerous chemicals and dust.

If you have been injured at someone elses property, you could be entitled to compensation. The owner of the property would be legally liable for the injury and be forced to pay damages. However, Australian home and contents policies typically offer a large amount of public liability cover.

Shine Lawyers – let's right wrong

Shine Lawyers are experts in the field of Public Liability and will take on your claim on a no win, no fee basis in order to help you get the compensation you deserve. For more information and to get in touch with us.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: November 14, 2019.

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