Your garage is likely home to many hazardous chemicals, dangerous tools and, of course, your vehicle. If you have small children or pets, it’s vital that you make your garage as safe as possible. Even if only adults use your garage, there are some safety issues that come into play. It’s a good idea to go through your garage periodically with your eye on potential safety concerns so that you can stop injuries before they happen. Here is a garage safety checklist that will be a good starting point:
Make sure the garage door is safe.
Your garage door has one or two springs that help to regulate the tension of the door as it goes up and down. These springs tend to wear out over time, and need to be replaced. Check them seasonally to see if they are still in good condition. If you have two springs, it’s a good idea to replace both at the same time, even if only one breaks. Another issue with garage doors has to do with opening and closing. Your automatic door should have a reverse mechanism that would cause the door to open again if it were to hit something upon closing. Check this by placing a roll of paper towels under the open garage door, then hitting the button to close it. If the door crushes the towels instead of going back up when it meets resistance, then call a repair professional immediately.
Poisonous chemicals need to be locked up.
Particularly if you have kids, you should keep all hazardous chemicals in a locked cabinet. All it takes is one curious child opening a bottle or can of lighter fluid, antifreeze, turpentine, automotive chemicals, gasoline or one of a hundred other chemicals that are often stored in garages, for tragedy to occur. If you can’t put them in a locked cabinet, then a high shelf out of the reach of little hands is second-best.
Store garden tools securely.
You might not think of shovels and garden rakes as particularly hazardous, but they can be if they’re stepped on or if they fall and hit someone in the head. Store these standing up and clipped to the wall where they won’t end up on the floor or simply propped up, waiting for someone to walk by and accidentally kick them over.
Anchor shelves to the walls.
If you have freestanding garage shelves, then these can create a hazard if you have kids (even big kids) who try to climb them, either as recreation or in order to reach something at the top. They, and all of the heavy items on them, can topple down right on top of someone. Anchor these to your wall studs with special brackets designed for this purpose, or have your shelving installed on your walls instead of standing on the floor.
Avoid fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in your garage.
Use the same safety rules you do in your garage as you would in your house, such as not overloading outlets and not leaving items plugged in when you’re not using them. Be very careful if you are using space heaters in the winter to keep your garage warm. Do not use a gas grill or a generator in the garage, and don’t allow your car to run inside of the garage at all, even with the door open, as this can allow carbon monoxide to build up. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and be sure that you have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector in the area.
The best way to make sure that your garage is safe is to take a really good look around. Check each section of your garage and think about whether someone could accidentally knock it over, step on it or otherwise get hurt. If you have kids, think about how a child could climb on or explore something in an unsafe way. The garage is usually not a play area for children anyway, so if you combine safetyproofing measures with keeping your kids and pets out of the garage whenever possible, you should be able to keep them safe.
Author: Kris O’Conner is the general manager of Arizona Garage Design and serves the greater Scottsdale, Arizona area. Arizona Garage Design specializes in custom closets, custom garages and storage organizer systems.