4 Common Safety Hazards Found Around the Home
Although many people feel the safest while at home, residences are not immune to safety hazards. In fact, many homes have hazards flying under the radar due to the comfort level of their current residents. Thankfully, it is easy to minimize these risks with some awareness. Upon realizing what hazards may be present, it's easy for homeowners to remedy the situation and keep all household members safe from harm. The following are the most common safety risks found around the house.
Hazards in Different Areas of the House
Homes are supposed to be very safe places, but they need regular maintenance and proper care to be as safe as possible and to prevent accidents and injuries. With this information, homeowners can make changes to their household maintenance and care routine in order to prevent safety-related problems.
The kitchen is a place of many potential hazards. Stoves and ovens can cause fires, while splashes of water on the floor can cause slips and falls.
Never leave a stove or oven unattended while it is in use. Keep smoke detectors around the kitchen fully stocked with batteries and test them regularly. Heat oil on the stove slowly, and remove oil from heat if it begins to smoke.
Garbage Disposal Safety
Never reach your hand into your garbage disposal unless it is unplugged, and teach other family members to do the same. Read all safety instructions provided by the manufacturer before using your garbage disposal.
Slips and Falls Safety
Clean up all spills in the kitchen quickly. Keep a non-slip mat in front of your sink and in any other high-risk areas where moisture is commonly on the floor and slips are likely.
From slips on the floor to hot water, the bathroom is a place where accidents can happen easily. To avoid these problems, start by keeping the space well-lit. This can prevent people from slipping in puddles or running into low furniture in this small space. Install grab bars in the shower and around the toilet to prevent falls while these parts of the bathroom are being used.
The garage is a place where chemicals and sharp garden tools are usually stored. Avoid putting any chemicals in the garage that are sensitive to temperatures, unless the garage is climate-controlled.
Keep chemicals and sharp tools away from children and pets. For households where the pets live in the garage during the cold of winter, it's important to pet-proof the garage before allowing pets to spend time there.
Garage doors are outfitted with safety features like a photoelectric eye and an auto-reverse function that prevents the door from closing on anyone. These safety features should be tested by the homeowner or by a garage door contractor on a regular basis to catch malfunctions.
Other Dangers Found Throughout the House
Sharp Objects and Edges
Sharp objects and edges are quite common in homes, resulting in thousands of serious injuries each year. Knives placed in the silverware drawer, empty food cans in the garbage, and even the cutting edge on a roll of foil can all result in cuts.
Other sharp objects in the house include:
- Cheese graters
- Vegetable peelers
- Personal razors
- Craft knives
- Lawn tools
Even sharp edges on furniture can result in cuts, if bumped into hard enough.
To prevent injuries, it's important for people to look high and low for sharp objects in their home. Then, they can cushion the edges of large objects, or secure small objects.
More than 379,000 fires broke out in homes across the United States in 2018, causing thousands of injuries. Of those, half were caused by cooking fires that burned out of control.
Although it's usually quite easy for someone to put out a small fire in the oven or on the stove, using the wrong methods can result in disaster. Putting water on a grease fire, for example, causes the flames to explode outward.
The easiest way to prevent household members from using the wrong methods of putting out fires is to keep the right fire extinguisher on hand. Beyond that, everyone should learn when and how to use the fire extinguisher properly.
Other causes of house fires include:
- Furniture or clothing over heating ducts
- Overloaded electrical circuits
- Appliance or equipment malfunction
Household members can check their vents for obstructions and avoid overloading their outlets to prevent many of these fires. It's also important for people to keep all appliances, HVAC equipment, and electrical circuits in good condition with help from skilled contractors.
Each year, millions of people call into poison control centers for help. They may call due to contact with caustic chemicals, or even after accidentally ingesting dangerous substances.
During these calls, cleaning products and other maintenance supplies are determined to be common causes of poison, because they are usually left in easily accessible closets and cupboards. Over-the-counter and prescription medications should also be stored away properly.
To keep everyone safe, homeowners can keep chemicals in cupboards fitted with child locks. When it comes to medicine, it's best for people to invest in a lockbox that has a combination lock on its latch.
Trips and Falls
Out of all the household hazards, falls cause the most injuries across all age groups. Serious injuries are common, even in minor falls, as it all depends on how the person lands.
Falls happen most often due to loose rugs, spills on the floor, and objects in the walkways. Inadequate lighting and the absence of handrails can increase the risks even more. If small children are in the house, then there's also a need for safety gates in certain areas, like at the top of the stairs.
With a thorough inspection of the pathways inside and outside the house, everyone can reduce the risk of falls in their homes. Upon noticing any hazards, people should address the issue right away or block off the area until they can.
Keep Up With Maintenance to Stay Safe
The best way that you can stay safe in your home is to keep up with maintenance. Replace or repair appliances as soon as they start to have problems. Engage in yearly maintenance routines like cleaning your gutters, inspecting your chimney, and checking in your attic for potential leaks. Finally, declutter your home and keep it clean. These tips can help you avoid potential safety hazards that can lead to accidents.
With an understanding of the most common safety hazards around the house, everyone can start looking through their own homes for problematic areas. Then, they can start doing all they can to minimize the risks, which will go a long way in keeping their household safe and sound.