SHOULD TV renovation shows begin with a do not try this at home warning?
Sunshine Coast District Director of Emergency Medicine Dr Stephen Priestley thinks so.
Working in the hectic accident and emergency ward at Nambour General Hospital, Dr Priestley has seen all manner of DIY-related injuries, from fractured bones and sliced nerves to amputated limbs.
In a snapshot of several hospitals across the state, Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit figures show 1800 people are winding up in hospitals each year.
Simple repairs are to blame for 22% of all injuries and more than 25% are caused by grinders.
While the QISU recorded eye wounds as the most common DIY injury in the decade to 2009, Dr Priestley said the most prevalent injuries he came across related to falls from ladders.
“There would be two to three people who have fallen off ladders with injuries serious enough to present to hospital every weekend,” he said.
“All it takes is for the ladder to be placed on slightly uneven ground and the consequences can be fatal.
“There was a sad case three months ago when an elderly gentleman who was cleaning leaves off his roof fell and suffered head injuries and passed away.”
Dr Priestley said he occasionally treated patients who had suffered an electric shock while attempting to adjust household circuitry.
He said appliance-related injuries from chainsaws, angle grinders, drills and nail guns could produce anything from lacerations to severed blood vessels and even amputation.
With the explosion of renovation and DIY shows on the small screen, Dr Priestley said it was important for home handymen and women to realise their limitations.
“There needs to be some safety messages in a lot of those broadcasts and strong suggestions that qualified tradespeople need to do some jobs, particularly electrical jobs,” he said.
“The majority of these injuries are essentially avoidable with due consideration.
“When inexperienced people pick up angle grinders and power tools without tuition, it is often an accident waiting to happen.
“People should think very carefully about the task they are considering doing, whether they have the experience to do it, and even if they are the right people to be getting up the ladder.”
Most common injuries
Most common DIY-related injuries presenting at Nambour hospital
1. Ladder falls: head injuries, ribs, arms and legs, cuts
2. Electric shocks: ranging from minor to severe shocks requiring hospitalisation
3. Appliances: cut tendons, impalements, amputations