Beat the heat - summer DIY tips


10 Jan 2017

The weather is mostly great, paint dries fast and maybe you have some spare time. But summer can present a few extra health and safety challenges.

No-one is suggesting you don't tackle those DIY projects, but it's a good idea to pay heed to some of the issues that can crop up.

Jeff Strampel, Site Safe central regional manager, says knowing the danger signs is vital.

"If heat stress or exhaustion is not dealt with quickly, it can progress to heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. Homeowners doing work in confined spaces like underfloor, ceiling or roof work, and those working in the hot sun are especially at risk.

"Unfortunately, New Zealand has one of the highest melanoma rates in the world. Kiwis need to know that exposure to our harsh UV rays can lead to melanoma or other skin cancers."

Strampel says it can be tempting to take on too much work, especially if you've been waiting for good weather to get started on a job. He recommends we take a step back and think about the task before getting stuck in.

"Smart planning makes for a better and a safer job."

Here are Site Safe's tips for staying safe this summer.

MATE, YOU'RE DREAMING
Set realistic deadlines and timeframes for jobs – can you really repaint the whole house in a weekend?

TOOL UP
Use the right tools for the job and try to switch tasks regularly if using vibrating power tools.

HAVE A PLAN
If you have several jobs to do outside, think about where the sun is and which job you should do first to avoid being in full sun for too long.

BE COOL
Wear breathable fabrics, a hat, sunglasses and a good quality sunblock. Invest in safety sunglasses if your eyes could be at risk of loose, flying materials. Safety sunglasses should have a good impact and UV rating.

DON'T SWEAT IT
Stay hydrated with lots of water. Avoid dehydrating drinks, like those containing caffeine or alcohol.

GO WITH THE FLOW
Think about airflow and use fans to provide ventilation and keep the temperature down if necessary.

TAKE A SIESTA
Why work in the burning midday sun if you don't have to? Take a long lunchbreak instead.

LOOK OUT FOR THESE DANGER SIGNS
- Clammy or sweaty skin

- Feeling weak or dizzy

- Darker coloured urine

- Pounding or rapid pulse

- Loss of balance, fainting

- Headaches

- Muscle cramps

- Mood changes or confusion