5 Common Dangers in the Garage And How to Handle Them
Here at Conestoga we’ve had to account for, plan for, mitigate and prevent a number of dangers and hazards as a custom post frame garage builder throughout the years. The design and build processes each present a number of unique challenges all their own, but there’s just as much to be mindful of when it comes to maintenance and every-day use.
These are some of the most common safety issues and environmental hazards present in functional garages, followed by tips on how to effectively handle them:
Slips and Falls
They’re the greatest danger in any garage or storage situation, and account for more than 30% of all physical injuries. Usually stairs in garages aren’t properly marked, or are cluttered and hidden by debris or not-quite-so-organized materials.
Try lining the edges of your steps with reflective tape so they’re obvious (morning, midday and night).
Chemicals, Poisons and Hazardous Materials
People often use garages to store pesticides, pet and rat poisons, pool products, engine fluids, antifreeze, paints, paint thinners and industrial cleaners. The trouble is they’re rarely stored properly.
Do your best to keep dangerous or poisonous liquids and chemicals in their original containers, sealed, and raised from the floor in a cabinet with solid bottom-row shelving.
Note: For everything flammable or that may pose a threat to fire safety or security, refer to the guidelines and provisions published by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).
Ineffective or Insufficient Lighting
Let’s face it – garages that are used often usually have a lot of cramped spaces and tightly-packed storage areas. If you’ve cleaned and organized effectively this shouldn’t really be an issue of anything more than convenience – unless it isn’t bright enough. According to a 2005 Home Safety Council survey; one third of American garages function with insufficient lighting.
Try to have additional lighting apparatus’ and fixtures installed professionally over or near stairs and work areas, and use the brightest bulb your sockets can handle. If you can’t rewire or accommodate additional fixtures – look into purchasing a portable lamp.
Leaning Ladders (Or Other Large Standing Items)
When large standing items like ladders are stored leaning, they can easily tip and fall on a vehicle, a hazardous materials container, or even an unfortunate passerby.
Simply lay them horizontally against a wall, or from hooks on the ceiling. The same applies for garden and shop tools like rakes, brooms, mops and shovels.
Improper Cords and Wiring
Garage and storage building floors have a tendency – due to their build components and the items we store in them – to get damp and dirty. This could pose a serious fire or shock risk if you aren’t using the right cords for the space.
Always opt for outdoor power strips and thick, outdoor extension cords. Check voltage and keep them untangled.
Garage Door Safety and Security
You’ll likely use your garage every day, which makes breakdowns or malfunctions all the more inconvenient. Standard safety precautions keep equipment likes doors and mechanical door openers in good working order.
- Be sure to mount your door-opener wall button above the reach of small children.
- Never attempt to run under a door as it’s coming down, or else hang on a garage door as it’s going up.
- In order to avoid damaging your door or opener, be sure you’ve disabled or removed ropes, manual door locks and cables prior to using a mechanical opening system.
- Get familiar with any emergency-use features on your opener-system. (This allows you to use it when there’s a power outage).
Garage doors are stylish, functional and essential for any put-together residential or commercial property. And regardless of whether it’s before, during or after you’ve decided to install an overhead door – or even had an entire post frame barn garage built from scratch – it’s essential to maintain environmental and personal safety and security.
If you’re looking to build a new garage and want to make sure it is a safe and durable structure, request a quote from us today!