It goes without saying that living in your home during a renovation has its challenges; the dangers of a work site exist and should not be taken lightly.
Safety is critical when you plan and start a renovation. If you decide to live in your home during the renovation or just visit from time to time, you must remember this is a construction site with hazards and dangers that you would not normally expect in your home.
The following are a few pointers when on a home renovation job site:
- Proper footwear is essential – nails, debris, sharp edges, adhesives and uneven surfaces can cause an injury. If you decide to visit the area of renovation after hours in your sock feet or during the day in your flip-flops, you are risking an injury. I had a client get up in the middle of the night and walk barefoot through a kitchen renovation for a drink of water and guess what? He cut his foot on something sharp. We wear work boots and shoes for a reason, not just fashion!
- Eye protection is wise – job sites are known to be dusty; drywall dust or sawdust are common. So you may want to have safety glasses when you visit, especially during working hours.
- Ladders & Staging are for the pros – Remember the site crews are safety trained, if you are not a professional and trained, then you should stay off any ladders or staging set up for the project, as you are putting your life at risk.
- Nice clothes are not work clothing – They call them work clothes for a reason, because they are durable, and you don’t mind if they get stained or torn. If you visit a job site, please do not wear clothes that you don’t want damaged. I have been on many sites and have often walked away with paint or a tear in something.
- Pet friendly – A job site is no place for pets. If you love your pets, please protect their paws from injury by keeping them away from the jobsite or in a kennel or closed room during the process. Often pets can find visitors or loud noises stressful and it may be better to board your pet during the project.
- Children – If they are not old enough to be on my crew, then please protect them if you decide to visit. They are curious, for the same reason you are visiting, to see what is going on. They will touch things that could be dangerous or fall over something that an adult would not. So please, either keep them outside the work area or contain them. I know it is easier said than done, but we really don’t want to see any kids get hurt. It is okay to expose them to the process and maybe they will grow up to be a carpenter, plumber, electrician or engineer. It is good to be curious, but always be safe.
- Permission is wise – I know it’s your house, but it is our work site and it may not be safe for you at certain times during the process. It is always better to ask permission to enter or visit a job site, then experience an injury.
- Hazard Assessments or “Work that Hurts” as we like to call it – Any company who has a safety program will have a hazard assessment of the job site, so that dangers can be identified and controlled. Each individual should be aware of these hazards before setting foot onsite.
Any company your hire should have a “Certified Safety Program,” which means they follow the regulations set out in the Occupational Health & Safety Act. All responsible contractors have a safety program to protect their most valuable resource, their employees.
Additionally, all reputable contractors have a “Letter of Good Standing” from the Workers Compensation Board (WCB), which protects the employee in case of injury on the job site. WCB coverage also protects the client from potential lawsuit if an injury does occur and the contractor is not covered. If your contractor doesn’t have WCB coverage, you could be personally liable for an injury claim. Don’t risk it, always ask for proof of coverage.
When you decide to hire a contractor or enter a construction site, safety should be a high priority. Accidents happen, but with proper planning, training and communication, they don’t have to.
I hope the above notes provide a little insight into the hazards associated with a renovation project and allows safety to be a priority on your jobsite, for the sake of you, your family and the men and women working to make your home beautiful.
By Dan Monk
Dan Monk is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.), Red Seal Carpenter and the Owner of Monk Renovations. Dan’s goal is to help educate and make the public more aware of the significant skill, professionalism and organization that is required to be a Trusted Professional in the renovation and new home building industry. Dan and the team at Monk Renovations can provide you with an outstanding home renovation experiences regardless of the size of your project and would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have. Twitter @monkrenovations Facebook & Instrgram @monkreno www.monkreno.com