Posted on: August 12, 2009 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

People usually hurt themselves while doing jobs or hobbies they seldom do, and home jobbing follows the same trend, writes SHEQafrica.com editor SHEQafrica.

DIY practitioners who have given up on tinkering on modern, computerised cars and washing machines, should not make a sudden garage comeback, or even tackle lawnmower repair, without a manual and some advice. Specialise in one job, like home welding, and be content to contract out the rest to people with daily experience of doing a safe job of measurable quality.

With or without tinkering, the garage remains a good place for everyone to practice SHEQ management skills. My latest garage audit reveals what may well list among the top ten home garage SHEQ risks anywhere in the world.

1 Tyre pyrolysis explosion. Lightning, welding or grinding on a wheel rim, rapidly break down tyre rubber into a highly explosive and extremely powerful gas mixture. Remove tyres and tubes from a rim before doing hot work.

2 Gas explosion or fire. Ocy-acetylene, LP and other gas vessels and pipes should be stored and operated clear of vehicles, heat, stoves, electricity, flammables, machinery, corrosives, and other gas vessels.

3 Petrol fire. Petrol storage should be minimised, and kept in a secure, dedicated container locked in the boot of a vehicle. Keep a foam type fire extinguisher in very vehicle and at the door. Use non-flammable cleaning materials.

4 Power tool injury. Switch off and unplug between each job. Remove loose clothing. Wear eye protection, but no gloves during power tool work. Keep untrained people and children out of work and storage areas.

5 Vehicle runaway or jack drop. Keep keys out of ignition. Park on level areas, never on an incline or decline. Jack in an unconstrained area, with tripod support.

6 Chemical explosion, inhalation or skin exposure. Lock away chemicals separately, in clean steel cabinets.

7 Sharps injury from slips and trips. Store sharps in retracted mode, separately from other tools. Continuously clear clutter or waste. Maintain housekeeping.

8 Electrical shock or fire. Maintain electrical appliances, lines and connections. Keep a foam type fire extinguisher at the entrance.

9 Hand tool injuries. Wear eye, hand and foot protection for heavy handling, cutting, sawing, and hammering. Use the right tools for the right job.

10 Dust inhalation, chemical and exhaust fumes. Work in a ventilated area. Used oil must be delivered to your nearest workshop or lubricants supplier. Fuel or oil in a drain could ignite in contact with drainpipe gases.

Some studies have found that South Africans on average move home very nine years, implying a nine-year DIY cycle. Home jobbing requires as much retraining and risk assessment updating, as moving to a new site at work.

-SHEQafrica.com editor, SHEQafrica

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