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DIY Accident Statistics

You're Better Off Staying In Bed!

hammer vs thumbNow you know me, I'm no fan of DIY / Home Improvements, but it's time to get serious. In 2002 over 230,000 people were injured while undertaking Home Improvements in the UK. You're better off staying in bed.

In order to avoid DIY you need to slip some of these statistics casually into conversation with your Wife or partner, something like this:

"Oh darling husband could you please put up that high shelf for me you've been promising to do since your bad back got better?"

"Hmmm... I'd like to Darling, but are you aware that last year over 29,000 people were admitted to hospital after working with planks of wood, a further 41,000 were injured after falling off ladders, and 5,800 seriously hurt by hammers?"
At this point pick up a pre-positioned picture of your Wife and kids, carefully wiping a tear from your eye,
"I will do it, but just promise me you'll look after the kids when I'm gone, and tell them Daddy loved them..."

ROSPA will have you believe that most of these accidents can be avoided with careful planning, using the right tools, wearing safety equipment, and taking precautions. Rubbish. You wouldn't put on a crash helmet and decide it was safe to dash across a motorway, so you shouldn't even attempt DIY. Prevention is always better than cure.

All these statistics can be a bit impersonal, so let's look at some of the tragic stories behind DIY accidents.

In 2000 UK Consumer Affairs Minister Dr Kim Howells issued a warning to all Householders to be careful over the coming Easter Weekend if DIYing. That very weekend he managed to severely mangle a finger while building a rockery. He saw the funny side.

Read about this poor persons family DIY curse:
Dad fell off the roof. (after much physical therapy, he's been great for 22 years)
Dad caught fire. (ditto, but with skin grafts, 24 years)
I electrocuted myself - age 3. (no hospitalizations required, but it was a darn good thing that we'd installed a circuit breaker)
Mom bitten by Brown Recluse that fell down the back of her work shirt. (she still has a scar - 20 years on)
And, of course, there was my uncle who was actually killed in an accident on one of his jobsite's (he was an architect and professional restoration contractor until his death in 1976).

How about these poor fools:
My DIY story is about my husband as I am sure he has nine lives. He is a real trier and eventually succeeds in most DIY ventures he attempts. Unfortunately a lot goes wrong before he reaches perfection. The worst is when he is wiring the house. Yes that's right, rewiring our house! Don't get me wrong, the job he does is excellent as long as I or someone else is there to switch the main off. Most people make this mistake maybe once in a lifetime, my hubby has made this mistake 4 TIMES and lived to tell the story.
Once he wanted to put our automatic door opener on the other shed door, so he went out there and cut the plug off. He was flung off the ladder and on to the concrete because "HE FORGOT TO TURN OFF THE POWER". Another time he was putting a plug in the hallway from a plug in the lounge. The wire was old and had frayed. He was thrown to the other end of the lounge and into our ranch-slider. On two other occasions while wiring the house and shed he has been thrown through the air.

And this guy:
Nigel Kirk who decided to nail the floorboards down in his bathroom with a DIY staple gun.
Trouble was, he lost his balance and fell over. He told me: "I heard the gun go off. I felt a pain in my chest, so I went to take off my jumper, but I couldn't because it was nailed to my chest."
Nigel was rushed to hospital, where surgeons discovered the nail was an inch inside his heart, and 1mm away from the main arteries. They had to cut open his ribcage and operate.
Most alarming, Nigel had initially considered removing the nail from his chest with pliers, before dialling 999. Doctors told him later that this would have resulted in certain death.
Previously, he had hit his long-suffering wife Lesley on the head with a hammer as she held up the side of a shed for him to nail.

So you see, DIY should be banned. Before more innocent people get seriously hurt. And before the Mrs wants me to build a new shed.

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