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Shine Lawyers | Home renovations, tearing down a wall

Avoiding DIY injuries - know the risks of home renovations

Many Australians are gripped with renvoation fever thanks to hugely popular Do-It-Yourself (DIY) television shows such as The Block inspiring them to get hands-on. Whether you're planning to try knocking down the odd wall around the house or are intending to take on a complete home renovation, it's important to be aware of the common DIY injuries that you may encounter so that you can prepare some safety measures.

Keep in mind that some DIY projects will call for more than one person on the job. Because of this, it can be tempting to ask for help from your family and friends or even tradespeople. But how can you make sure that anyone who enters your property is kept safe? Here are some things to be aware of.

Top five DIY health risks

  1. Asbestos: If you're renovating a house that was built between 1950 – 1990 particular care should be taken. This period was the prime era of asbestos use. Abestos may be found in walls, pipes, ducts and floor coverings in houses from this time. Take a look at how to spot asbestos in your home.
  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 and into your lungs. 
  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.

  • Nearly 1 in 3 injuries sustained by adults in Australia happen in the home and garden.
  • Home injuries require more time off work to recover from them than workplace injuries.
  • If the same practices used in workplace health and safety such as correct lifting techniques and using the correct tools were used, many DIY injuries would be prevented.
  • Men who are between 20 to 39 years old are the ones who are most commonly injured in DIY accidents.  
  • The most common DIY injuries are lacerations and wounds from machinery and tools, 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 renovations and odd jobs, in fact, it’s common. But if you do, make sure that you are mindful of everyone’s safety so that serious DIY injuries don’t occur. If an injury does occur on your property, keep in mind that most homeowner's home and contents insurance policy will include public liability cover to protect you in these situations. It's worth checking exactly what this policy covers with your insurance company before you begin a project.

Injured on someone else's property

If you've been injured on another person's property, you could be entitled to compensation. The owner of the property is legally liable for the injury and may be forced to pay damages through their home insurance policy.

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: March 31, 2020.

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