Home Repairs Safety and Preparation Checklist

this is an image of protective eye goggles, ear protective devices, a gooseneck lamp and low vision magnifier

Although you've probably had years of experience with home repairs, we recommend you use a safety checklist that includes the following:

  • Organize the work area. Collect all tools and equipment you will need ahead of time and have them arranged and sorted before you begin any home repair task. To help keep important items and equipment together, you can place your materials on a large tray, in a cardboard box, or in a work apron with pockets, arranged in the order you plan to use them. Also consider whether you will require a wastebasket, water, paper towels, tape, or other materials that will help you complete the project.
  • Organize your tools. Separate your tools according to type and always store them in, and return them to, a designated location. If you have low vision, wrap contrasting-colored plastic or electrical tape around your tool handles to make them easier to see and to increase contrast with the work surface. You can also mark the handles and the most commonly used settings with any of the methods and materials in Organizing and Labeling Your Workshop and Tools.
  • Protect your eyes. Regardless of your visual status (blind, visually impaired, or low vision), always wear impact-resistant safety glasses that completely enclose your eye area and are shielded along the sides and top edge of the lenses. They can be worn like glasses, or can fit over your own eyeglasses. Many types of safety glasses can also be obtained with prescription lenses.
  • Protect your ears. If you're using a drill, electric saw, or other types of power tools, you will also need ear protection, such as foam ear plugs or headphone-style ear muffs.
  • Check the lighting. If you have low vision, make sure that the lighting in your work area provides sufficient illumination. You can read more about lighting at Home Modifications. A lamp with an adjustable flex-arm or gooseneck is usually a good choice because you can adjust the direction of the light as needed. A flex-arm floor lamp on wheels allows you to move the light with you as you move around your work area.
  • Use a low vision device. Talk with your eye doctor or low vision specialist to determine if a low vision device, such as a chest or around-the-neck magnifier or a magnifier mounted on a flexible gooseneck stand, could be helpful for some home repair tasks. For more information about low vision devices and training, see What Is A Low Vision Examination?, Low Vision Optical Devices, and Vision Rehabilitation Services.
  • Consider your energy source. Whether you're changing a washer in a faucet or fixing a light switch, be sure to turn off/disconnect the appropriate utility. If you're attempting a water-related repair, for example, remember to turn off the main water supply before you begin. If you are attempting an electrical repair, it's important to turn off the main electrical power source.
  • Use the correct extension cord. The thickness of an extension cord should be equal to, or greater than, the cord on the power tool. Otherwise, the extension cord can overheat and cause a fire or severe burns.
  • Know when to request help. If the repair is large or complicated, it may require asking for professional help. While the professional worker is with you, it can be an opportunity to learn more about the specific item or system that is being repaired so that you can do it yourself the next time!

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