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First aid for DIY injuries

 Treating casualty

Leading first aid charity St John Ambulance has issued first aid advice to people who are thinking about doing some DIY around the home over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend.

Each year over 200,000 DIY enthusiasts turn up at hospital accident and emergency rooms*. In many cases, knowing some first aid could save you that trip to A&E and potentially save a life.

Clive James, Training Development Manager at St John Ambulance, commented: ‘A long weekend is a great time to get some extra work done around the house but statistics show that DIY often stands for ‘doing injury to yourself’. It’s important for everyone to learn basic first aid skills whether it’s dealing with something minor or being the difference between life and death.’

Find out how to treat some of the most common DIY injuries:

Severe bleed

Open wounds are by far the most common DIY injury, causing around 80,000 hospital visits a year. Accidents can happen at any time and it’s important to know how to treat serious injuries. Should the unexpected happen, this advice on bleeding could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

Broken bones

Around 25,000 people a year end up with a bone injury after doing some DIY around the home. You can help to prevent further injury by following our first aid advice for possible fractures.

Sprains and strains

Up to 17,000 people will require treatment for sprains or strains as a result of home improvements every year. There are some things you can do to help the injured person:

  • Help the injured person to sit or lie down comfortably, with some padding underneath their injury to support it
  • Cool the area with a cold compress/ice pack to help reduce the swelling and pain
  • Apply comfortable support to the injury, by placing a layer of padding over the cold compress and securing it in place with a bandage
  • Support the injured part in a raised position if possible
  • If the pain is severe or they are unable to move the injured part, arrange to get them to hospital.

Electrical burn

Electrical burns can be serious and should be treated with care: Don’t approach a victim of high-voltage electricity until the electrical source has been broken. Find out how you can treat burns and scalds.


Splinters are common DIY injuries which carry a risk of infection as they are generally small but unclean shards of wood, metal or glass. They can be easy to remove using the following advice:

  • Gently clean the area around the splinter with warm water and soap
  • Use tweezers to grasp the splinter as close to the skin as possible
  • Draw the splinter out in a straight line in the same direction it entered the skin, making sure it does not break off
  • Carefully squeeze the wound to encourage a small drop of blood. This will help flush out remaining dirt
  • Clean and dry the wound and cover with a plaster or other dressing
  • Never try and probe the splinter with an object like a needle or you might introduce infection 
  • If the splinter is too deeply embedded to remove or it lies over a joint then seek medical help 
  • If you are unsure if you are covered for tetanus, check with your GP.

* ROSPA figures.