Many DIY and home improvement projects carry an element of danger and we are often aware of the dangers present in projects that require power tools, risky situations and heavy or cumbersome objects. However did you know that according to Government figures there are over 1500 wallpaper related accidents and injuries every year?
While wallpaper may not seem like a dangerous material, it was actually listed as the 10th most dangerous DIY material in the 2002 Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) report with 1602 reported accidents and injuries resulting from the use of wallpaper!
This unexpected statistic really intrigued me so I decided to have a look and see what common wallpapering injuries I could find, not an easy task but I eventually found some data from a hospital A&E unit that gave me the following insights:
Females are 28% more likely to suffer a wallpapering related injury than males. 64% of reported injuries were from females compared to just 36% from males. However this difference may be down to males being less likely to seek medical advice and attention for their injuries.
The most injured part of the body was the lower back, this was usually in the form of back pain or a strain injury resulting from bending, stretching and falling off ladders! To avoid this it may be advisable to warm up before papering and set the pasting table at a height that is comfortable to use. Also remember that you should always take care when using ladders and step ladders no matter how high or low the height.
Surprisingly the least injured body part was the finger, most of which were from cuts by knives and scissors. This is probably because we are usually very aware of what we are doing with our hands, especially when using sharp cutting tools! However injuries to the hands were far more common and usually resulted from the use of scraping tools, gloves are recommended to help protect the hands from these injuries.
Chest pains were a common complaint for those over the age of 50. This was often accompanied by a lack of sensation and tingling in the hands, most likely this was caused by having the arms raised above the head for long periods which can affect the bloods circulation. To avoid this be sure to take regular breaks and shake down your arms to get the blood flowing back through your hands.
Another fairly common injury was caused by loose bits of debris shooting into the eye when scraping the walls. This is extremely common when scraping wood chip wallpaper. Goggles should be worn to protect the eyes when scraping off old wallpaper.
So remember that no matter how harmless your home improvements activities may seem it is always better to plan ahead, recognise the risks and wear any appropriate safety gear. If you suffer from back pain or poor circulation then it may be better to call in a professional decorating service to carry out the work for you.
This article was written and researched by Mike Escott on behalf of the Home and Garden Website, a UK Home Improvements Directory.