It could be the coolest remodeling design you have seen showcased in a magazine, on television, or online. What’s more, it might look easy to do, but never start construction if you do not know how to do so safely. When it comes to home improvement, there is always another awesome task waiting to be finished. Completing a project yourself can save money and be a fulfilling aspect of owning a home. It can also be a path to disaster if safety is not the top of the priority list.

Tommy Talley, Safety and Loss Manager at Woodruff Electric says, “Safety can’t take a back seat when it comes to projects around the house. No amount of money saved or pride in a project is worth someone’s life if a project is not safely completed.” Electricity is just one of the potential hazards that need to be addressed during home improvement projects.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has some tips on electrical safety to keep you and your Do-It-Yourself (DIY) construction crew safe:

  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on all 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles, or have an assured equipment grounding conductor program (AEGCP).
  • Follow manufacturers’ recommended testing procedures to insure GFCIs are working correctly.
  • Use double-insulated tools and equipment. You can recognize double insulated equipment by its distinctive marking of a box within a box.
  • Use tools and equipment according to the instructions included in their listing, labeling, or certification.
  • Visually inspect all electrical equipment before use. Remove from service any equipment with frayed cords, missing ground prongs, cracked tool casings, etc. Do not use defective equipment until the problem has been corrected.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) suggests that a clear vision of a project before it begins can help produce a good outcome. It also advises thinking about traffic patterns, furniture size and placement, colors, lighting, and Woodruff Electric Cooperative Corporation of Arkansas how you plan on using a new or remodeled space. According to NAHB, “A good rule of thumb for any homeowner is to avoid projects that require a license or structural changes to walls, roofs, and floors.” Remember if your DIY project has children and pets in the area of construction, make sure there is a plan in place to keep them clear of danger. Get more information on DIY electrical safety at Safe Electricity.

Woodruff Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Forrest City, is a memberowned electric utility. Woodruff Electric serves electric power to more than 19,000 homes, farms, and businesses in parts of Woodruff, Prairie, Monroe, Cross, St. Francis, Lee, and Phillips counties in eastern Arkansas. The district offices are located in Augusta, Moro and Barton.