New safety code for DIY enthusiasts

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The Independent Online
AS THE traditional Easter DIY season gets under way, the Government yesterday issued new safety guidelines to curb the number of accidents that take place in the home, writes Amanda Kelly.

Around 70 people die each year as they undertake various odd-jobs and home improvements and a further 250,000 are injured. Accidents involving ladders, for example, kill one person a week.

A disproportionate number of these disasters take place over the Easter period, with nearly as many injuries in April as there are from January to March.

Nigel Griffiths, the consumer affairs minister, described the figures as "appalling" and said most of the mishaps could be prevented with a little extra thought. "There are some terrible cases of what can go wrong if people do not take care," he said. "Holidays should be enjoyed not spent in hospitals.

"We all like to do a bit of DIY round the home, especially over the holidays. But many people in a hurry try to cut corners, use the wrong tools or are just plain careless."

The minister outlined a number of individual cases to illustrate the kind of dangers that exist. He told of a man who was electrocuted after forgetting to unplug a washing machine he was working on. Another victim fell and suffered fatal head injuries while using a chair to hang wallpaper instead of a stepladder.

Mr Griffiths said: "The leaflets I am issuing today will be available in DIY outlets up and down the country and gives key safety advice ... It will only take 10 minutes to read but it could save you an awful lot of grief."