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Emergency room visits related to DIY projects spiked in 2020

The percentage was the highest in a decade and soared in early spring that year, researchers found

The most dangerous projects for homeowners include redoing bathroom plumbing, fixing roof shingles and replacing electrical panels. (iStock)
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Injuries related to home-improvement projects accounted for 3 percent of all emergency room visits in 2020, according to a recent analysis by Clearsurance, a platform for customer-generated reviews and ratings of insurance companies owned by 360 Quote.

To find out how risky DIY projects can be, Clearsurance researchers analyzed data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

It showed that the percentage of ER visits related to home-improvement projects in 2020 was the highest in a decade and spiked in early spring that year, leading with April at 4.09 percent, followed by May and June. The lowest percentage was in January 2020 at 1.9 percent.

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The overall number of home improvement-related injuries that required an ER visit fell in 2020 compared with 2019 even as the percentage rose, which the researchers say may be attributed to people avoiding hospitals because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to their research, more than 290,000 home-improvement injuries required an ER visit, and more than 24,000 required a hospital stay in 2020. The study doesn’t review exactly which projects cause the most injuries, but it revealed the most common types of injuries, the most commonly injured body parts and the tools that caused the most injuries.

The most dangerous projects for homeowners include redoing bathroom plumbing, fixing roof shingles and replacing electrical panels, according to a personal injury attorney consulted by the researchers.

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While the number of injuries doesn’t necessarily suggest homeowners should skip DIY projects, it does shine a light on the need for extreme care when tackling household projects.

Lacerations, fractures and contusions were the most common injuries, while fingers, hands and eyes were the most typically injured body parts.

What tools caused the most injuries? Manual workshop tools, power home workshop saws and miscellaneous workshop equipment took the top three spots.

The full report is available here.

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