Home maintenance comes with some health and safety risks that you need to deal with. You can suffer injury or illness through:

  • cuts from sharp tools or materials
  • falls from a ladder, scaffolding or elevated space such as a roof
  • inhaling fumes from certain chemicals or paint removing devices
  • inhaling harmful dust, mould spores or fibres such as asbestos
  • splashing chemicals onto skin or into an eye
  • damaging hearing through the use of power tools without ear protection 
  • faulty electrical devices.

The first and best approach is to eliminate the danger if you can. Where this is not possible, reduce the risk as far as possible through careful planning. Finally, use appropriate personal protective equipment, keeping tools well maintained, and following the advice of the manufacturer or supplier of any tools, equipment or chemicals used.

Areas of high risk, such as removing friable asbestos, are covered by their own regulations and must be left to licensed professionals.

In the case of accidental poisoning, call the New Zealand National Poisons Centre on 0800 POISON (0800 764 766).

If someone is unconscious or seriously injured, dial 111 and ask for an ambulance.

Specific risks and how to handle them are detailed on separate pages.