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300,000 Home Improvement DIYers Went to the ER in 2020

A new report finds homeowner's risk for injury during DIY projects.


One (more) reason to leave remodeling projects to the pros? The risk of injury. And a recent analysis of ER visits found which injuries are attributed to DIY home improvement projects.

Clearsurance, a homeowner insurance provider, found more than 290,000 American homeowners rushed to the ER in 2020 due to home improvement accidents, with nearly 25,000 admitted to the hospital.

The company collected and analyzed data from the 2020 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database created by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Because these reports were tracked by product injury, each are attributed to home workshop equipment.

Even professionals get injured, but these numbers shine a light on an unfortunate side to homeowners highly confident in their DIY abilities.

A 2022 survey conducted by Lowe’s found homeowners would likely try nearly any project themselves. More than 50% of respondents stated they would likely DIY basements, home gyms, closets, garages, offices, porches, bedrooms, living rooms, and landscaping, instead of hiring a professional.

In fact, there were only two types of projects—building exterior and whole house—where more than 50% of respondents said they would hire a pro.

Common DIY Injuries

The top DIY injury in 2020, unsurprisingly, were lacerations. These accounted for 127,486 ER visits, followed by fractures and contusion/abrasions.

Less common injuries, with fewer than 8,000 reported, involved internal organs, avulsion, burns, poisoning, crushing, concussion, and dermatitis/conjunctivitis.

The body part most likely to be injured is the fingers, according to the report. Fingers accounted for 117,026 injuries, followed by hand, then eyeball, head, upper trunk, and face.

When comparing the workshop equipment that caused injury most to the body part injured, there’s a clear connection.

Most Dangerous Household Tools

Household tools with the greatest likelihood of causing injury were workshop manual tools, such as hammers, screwdrivers, or wrenches, followed by power saws. More than 107,000 injuries were reportedly caused by manual tools, and another 83,000 were attributed to power saws.

As the weather warms, more homeowners are likely to take on DIY projects, and as a result, more will end up in the ER, according to a monthly analysis of the hospital visits.

Overall, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reported higher numbers of injuries in summer through fall. The same trend is seen in home workshop equipment injuries.

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