Accidents can (and do) happen

January 23, 2020
Taryn Lee-Johnston

While words like “health and safety” tend to make people’s eyes roll, fundamentally health and safety is basically about taking sensible precautions to keep people safe and it, therefore, applies in the home too.  As an added bonus, it also helps to keep your valued possessions safe.  Here are some tips on preventing accidents in the home.

Keep external doors and windows closed (and locked) as much as you can

Hopefully, everyone should be aware of the need to keep doors and windows closed (and ideally locked) when you are going out of the home, as protection against burglars, but it may be less obvious that there are benefits to keeping them closed when you are at home too.  Not only can this stop people wandering in without your noticing (it happens) but it can stop animals and birds from coming in and causing accidental damage.  If you want to let some air in, just open the window a little bit rather than opening it wide.

As a side note, if you have issues with birds bumping into your glass, then window decals can solve the problem and if you have parts of your home which are a bit too exposed to people looking in, but you’d still like to have light in them, then privacy film can be the way to go.

Keep internal doors closed and/or consider baby/pet gates

In principle, it’s best to keep internal doors closed at all times as they are your first defence against fire.  In practice, when the risk of fire is fairly low (which, these days, is most, if not all the time), then it can make more sense to leave them open so that air/heat/people can circulate, but if you have babies and/or pets then it can be a good idea to put up gates to limit where they can move.  In the (hopefully unlikely) event that there is a fire, you’ll be alerted thanks to the smoke detectors you’ll have installed.

Watch your cabling

Cable clutter may have become the number one hazard in both homes and businesses.  In business, the law requires that safety be put above convenience, but in the private world, in principle, it’s up to you and it can be tempting just to put the cabling where it’s easiest (or where your router gets the best reception) and deal with it “later”.  Resist the temptation.

Not only does cabling need to be put where humans aren’t going to trip on it, but, if there are pets in the house, it also needs to go where pets (and young children) aren’t going to trip over it or play with it or bite it.  Dealing with this last point often means putting some kind of cover over cabling, at least as much as possible and it can be worth doing this even if there aren’t pets (or young children) in the house, in case they come round.

DIY with care

DIYing can be a good way to save money, if you know what you’re doing, stay within your skillset and apply appropriate safety and common-sense precautions.  It can also be a good way to create havoc and lead to insurance claims, assuming you’re covered.

Standard contents insurance may cover you for possessions which have been stolen, destroyed or damaged in a means which was beyond your control, for example, if a burst water-main floods your home.  It may not, however, cover you for accidental damage caused by you (or anyone connected with you) unless you specifically at it on to your policy, which is strongly recommended.

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