DIY or Deadly for You? Home Improvement Projects That End in the ER

Clearsurance’s recent analysis of home improvement injuries reviewed emergency room data and found the most common related injuries and their causes.

Home improvement injuries are common and result in hundreds of thousands of ER visits annually. While any kind of home improvement project could result in injuries, some are more dangerous than others. Clearsurance also found that more ER visits occurred in the summer than during the winter months.

Common Home Improvement Injuries

With data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, Clearsurance discovered the most common home improvement injuries.

  • Laceration 
  • Fracture
  • Contusions/Abrasions
  • Other
  • Foreign body
  • Puncture
  • Amputation

In 2021, 209,599 people had their injuries treated at the ER and were released, while 20,534 required hospital admission.

Lacerations accounted for over 127,000 ER visits, more than half of the total number. Considering how common laceration injuries are, you should be especially careful when dealing with sharp objects like saws when working on a project.

Most Commonly Injured Body Parts

Injuries to fingers topped the list at over 117,000, the next most commonly injured body part is the hand at around 37,000. 

  • Finger
  • Hand
  • Eyeball
  • Head
  • Upper Trunk
  • Face
  • Lower Trunk

The neck, elbow, and upper arm were the least injured body parts. 

Considering lacerations and fingers topped their respective list, it’s easy to see that you should pay careful attention to protecting your fingers while using sharp objects. In addition, the article recommends learning the proper use of tools and wearing appropriate clothing that won’t interfere with the equipment.

Most Common Tools Invovled with Home Improvement Injuries

Manual tools top the list, likely because they are the most common tools that just about every homeowner has ready to use.

Manual tools resulted in over 107,000 injuries, and power saws followed closely at over 84,000 related injuries. Miscellaneous workshop equipment, power home tools, and batteries rounded out the top five. 

With accessibility to how-to videos online, it’s easy to watch and learn how to use manual tools, saws, and power tools properly. Taking a little bit of time to prepare could save you a lot of time and money at the hospital.

Home Improvement Injuries and Months of the Year

Summer projects result in more injuries than winter projects, likely because more homeowners work on their houses in the summer. 

Interestingly, in 2020, the total number of ER visits dropped drastically, but the number of home improvement-related ER visits increased. When you consider that more people were at home with not much to do, it makes sense that more people attempted home improvement projects than before, resulting in more injuries. 

Safety Tips From Expert

Clearsurance wraps up its analysis by sharing some expert tips for staying safe while working on your home.

Check Your Ladder

A loose step on a ladder could give way leading to a fall. So before you climb, make sure the ladder is sturdy and positioned on level ground.

Know Your Limit

Don’t try to do tasks that are beyond the scope of your knowledge. Some projects are better left to trained professionals.

Wear Safety Goggles

The eye is the third most common body part injured in home improvement projects. Wearing safety goggles is an easy way to protect your eyesight. 

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Some insurance providers will try to refuse coverage for home improvement injuries. So before you get started, make sure you know how your insurer will handle a claim. If you find yourself in a situation with a denied claim, you will need to get a good injury lawyer to work your case and help you get the coverage you’re entitled to.

And besides making sure your health insurance is adequate, you should review your home insurance, especially if you have an older home with additional risks. Even new homes have risks that your home insurance should protect. So, evaluate your coverage before starting a project that could lead to issues. 

The more you know about your risks and how to prevent them, the better you’ll be able to keep yourself safe while working around the house.

Read Clearsurance’s full report: Home Improvement Injuries: An ER Visit Analysis.

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