Prevention of injuries associated with Do-It-Yourself activities

Department of Human Services and Health, Monograph No. 1 - 1995 - .pdf [3.8MB]

Authors: V. Routley & J. Ozanne-Smith


This study aimed to examine the feasibility of piloting projects to transfer safe work practices from work to home through the identification of a set of priority issues that offer good potential for improving the safety of 'do-it-yourself (DIY) home handyperson activities.

Data analyses were undertaken of emergency department, hospital admissions and coronial data on DIY and domestic maintenance injury. Formal and informal literature were reviewed from both Australia and overseas concerning DIY injuries and relevant prevention both in the home and workplace. Industry consultations with occupational health and safety personnel also contributed to the identification of countermeasures for the leading causes of DIY injury.

The leading causes of DIY injury were grinders, lawnmowers, ladders, vehicle parts, welding equipment. power saws, vehicle parts, electrical equipment and tractors. Males were most commonly involved in DIY injury (85% of cases) and DIY injury was over-represented in rural compared with urban data. Injuries were most frequently to eyes and hands

The development of off-the-job safety programs is variable. Practices included the loan of safety and other DIY equipment, social clubs purchasing large quantities of safety equipment and sales to members at discount prices, the sponsorship of community safety programs and the production of safety information which may be shared with other sites and companies.

The next stages to achieve injury reduction are to identify a lead agency, develop priorities and targets, implement strategies and establish monitoring and review processes.

The direct transfer of workplace safety is only one of a number of promising strategies. The implementation strategies from which choices can be made focus on workplace initiatives, education, regulation, research, policy development and overcoming economic barriers. Countermeasures should be formally evaluated and the 'culture of safety' needs to be enhanced so that consumers buy with safety in mind. Research recommendations include a follow-up study to determine the extent to which DIY injuries relate to particular industry groupings.