Remodeling a home is a massive undertaking, even for the most seasoned contractors. These large-scale projects often take much longer than a basic renovation, need more materials and sometimes require contractors to hire more helping hands.
Safety is one of the most important considerations to make when remodeling a home. A major remodeling project can present new hazards you may not encounter during other jobs. Here are some helpful safety tips for remodeling that all contractors should consider.
1. Test for Contaminants
Before starting any remodeling job, contractors must test for lead paint, mold, asbestos and other potentially hazardous materials within the home.
The construction process could disturb areas of the home containing these contaminants, so testing the space being remodeled is critical for everyone’s health and safety. No matter how well-built they are, older homes tend to carry environmental hazards compared to modern homes.
2. Keep the Site Secure, Clean and Contained
All construction sites, including a home remodel, must be kept secure, clean and contained. Blocking off entrances and exits to the site is imperative, especially if the client has children or pets in the house. Seal off the construction site to ensure only you and your employees can access it.
Before wrapping up for the day, make sure the remodeling site is clean and organized. Tidying up makes it easier to pick up where you left off the following day, shows your clients you prioritize safety and prevents potential slips, trips and falls.
3. Observe Electrical, Ladder and Roof Safety
Depending on the nature of the work, you might need to climb ladders, walk on roofs or work with electrical equipment. These three aspects of a home remodeling project could easily cause injuries or fatalities.
Be sure to follow best practices regarding electric work, ladder use and roof safety. Run safety inspections for any open wires, avoid falls by practicing appropriate ladder techniques and always use safety gear when working on the roof.
4. Always Wear the Proper PPE
Another tip is to always wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when working on a home remodeling project. Some of the most common types of PPE include:
- Steel-toed boots
- Face and ear protection
- Full-length pants and shirt
This PPE will protect sensitive or exposed areas of the body that could sustain serious injuries in the case of an accident. This is especially important when working with hazardous materials such as concrete aggregate containing silica, asbestos and PVC. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, nevertheless all team members should wear PPE for all active working hours to prevent the risk of injury.
5. Lift Heavy Objects Safely
Lifting heavy materials, objects or equipment improperly can result in serious injury — it’s actually the leading cause of injury in the workplace, according to OSHA. Different lifting methods are necessary depending on the items you lift.
The last thing you want to do is throw your back out trying to carry heavy objects around your residential work site. If something feels too heavy, try asking a team member to help you out so you can both move the item to its designated location carefully.
6. Treat Technology, Tools and Equipment With Care
As always, it’s wise to treat any technology, power tools or heavy equipment you use with care. New technologies construction professionals use on the job can include drones, autonomous vehicles (AVs), robots and smart equipment.
Since many of these new and emerging technologies have high upfront costs, you must take care of them — perform regular maintenance, store equipment properly and double-check that each piece of equipment functions properly. Run these checks before doing any serious construction work on the home, as malfunctioning tools can cause injury if you aren’t careful.
7. Keep Clients in the Loop
When you remodel a home, its residents are inevitably subjected to loud noises and potential hazards. You want to keep an open line of communication with your clients throughout the remodeling process to protect everyone.
Residents should know what areas of their home you’re working on each day and what you plan to do. For example, let’s say you’re adding insulation to a client’s attic. You should keep your client in the loop and let them know that the attic is off-limits until you finish the job. Keeping clients out of the way is a top safety concern for any contractor.
8. Consider Poor Weather Conditions
Exterior remodeling projects often don’t have much protection from the elements. Weather conditions play a critical role in any construction project and home remodeling jobs are no exception.
Remember to operate machinery with caution, wear the appropriate weather gear, take your time going up and down ladders and follow all other safety precautions. Working under poor weather conditions is less than ideal, but you can take steps to ensure your site is safer.
9. Use Safety Gear Whenever Possible
All team members must use safety gear and equipment whenever possible. Several types of hazards could threaten contractors, such as noise, respiratory exposure, working at height, impact to the head or body and foreign objects in the eye.
As mentioned above, wearing PPE is critical. Using additional safety equipment, such as anchors, body support and connectors and other fall protection accessories, is also essential. No construction project is worth risking your body over, so be sure to use the latest equipment to protect yourself, your team and the project.
10. Train All Team Members on Safety
Training all your team members on safety policies and procedures is a crucial part of being a contractor. Taking on an entire home remodeling project is no easy feat, meaning every team member must be on the same page, especially regarding safety.
Consider training team members with VR, which is an effective trend becoming more popular in the construction field. VR-based training can provide your team with exceptional safety knowledge and a hands-on learning experience.
Stay Safe During Home Remodeling Projects
It’s plain and simple — any home remodeling or renovation project requires contractors to prioritize safety. Safety must be a top concern for everyone involved in a construction job, as it’s the only way to ensure the project can be completed on time and without injuries. Follow the tips above when working on home remodeling projects in the coming months.