Warnings over BBC DIY show

Cutting the gas canister

A DIY tip which featured on a BBC programme has been criticised for being dangerous and irresponsible. The renovators on The House That £100k Built, cut through a gas canister to make a light fitting. The experts praised the end result, but the makers of the canister say the move could have proved fatal.

So just how dangerous is it - and how risky is DIY in general?

Gas risk

The renovators decided to cut into an old gas canister in order to turn it into a lampshade. The experts on the programme praised their creativity at the time.

However, the Daily Mail reported that Calor Gas has condemned the move - pointing out that cutting into a gas canister was both illegal and dangerous. It said that any gas lingering in the canister could have exploded when it was cut - which is why it emphasises that people must not copy this idea under any circumstances.

The newspaper added that last year a 48-year-old Oxfordshire man died cutting into a canister, when trying to make a barbecue.

The BBC told the Daily Telegraph that it had removed the portion of the programme from all repeats and from the version on the iPlayer.

DIY risks

This is clearly an extreme example of the risks people can unwittingly take when improving their home. However, DIY is a shockingly dangerous business. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that 220,000 DIY enthusiasts end up in casualty every year. Injuries from tools and machinery account for 87,000 of these, while incidents involving ladders cause 41,000 of them, and splinters and grit lead to another 60,000 people seeking treatment.

They say the most dangerous tools are (in this order): knives, saws, grinders, hammers, chisels, screwdrivers, power drills, axes, planes and welding equipment.

Clearly this is deeply worrying - especially when you consider the fact that you can cause hundreds or even thousands of pounds of damage to your home too. Last year Halifax Home Insurance saw 40,000 accidental damage claims - in which botched DIY played a major part.

Santander has found that 13 per cent (4.6 million) of DIY and home improvement projects undertaken in the last year went wrong in some way, and as a result, people in the UK have collectively spent £169 million fixing the damage.

Halifax says insurance claims soar in May during the Bank Holiday DIY season, while the AA says that household damage claims tend to rise in August as a result of more people undertaking DIY jobs around the house.

Part of the problem is that we are over-confident about what we can achieve. The Halifax found that while 77% of householders would be confident enough to tackle painting, and half would attempt to put up shelves, more than 10 per cent would fit a new kitchen, and one in 20 would be willing to fit a new gas fire themselves, something Halifax does not recommend.

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