DIY accidents cost the NHS £222 million every year – and many are avoidable

According to new research, power tools, ladders and general tools are the main culprits behind the injuries inncured from home DIY projects

man and woman undertaking diy by getty images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Research recently undertaken by MyJobQuote (opens in new tab) suggests that DIY related accidents are costing the NHS an average of £222,322,225 in hospital visits every year. This was calculated using NHS statistics on the average cost of visiting A&E (£143) and of getting an ambulance to hospital (£259), as well as recent Office of National Statistics data for the population of 18 to 65 year olds in the UK (40,762,058).

Of the 64 per cent of participants who had taken on a DIY task in the last 12 months, one in six (17 per cent) were found to have caused injury to themselves in the process. 

Of that, 17 per cent who had experienced a DIY related injury, 26 per cent recalled having to visit A&E to receive treatment for their injuries, while a further 5 per cent admitted to having to call an ambulance the injury was so serious. 

Amongst the main culprits behind the injuries? Power tools, ladders and general tools. Having looked further into this statistic, researchers have suggested that the leading five causes of injuries include:

  • Contact with a power tool – 23%
  • Falling from a ladder – 23%
  • Contact with a non-power tool – 17%
  • Electrocution – 10%
  • Incident with a lawnmower – 6%

Of the 2,802 participants, all of whom were between the ages of 18 and 65, two thirds suggested that injuries had led to them taking time off work (on average three days), another 12 per cent suggested that injury had led to long-term damage, while an additional 6 per cent suggested they had been unable to return to work for at least one year. This means that DIY accidents are costing employers, as well as the NHS.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Lisa Evans, spokesperson for MyJobQuote (opens in new tab), says, 'DIY naturally comes with its own set of risks as the equipment used, such as power tools and ladders, can be dangerous if not used properly. Obviously accidents happen and can sometimes be unavoidable, but a high number of these accidents could be averted with the proper precautions, thus alleviating the strain and cost on the NHS.'

Offering advice on reducing the risk of injury while taking on DIY projects, Lisa advises: 'Always wear protection, such as goggles or a mask and gloves where necessary, take extra care when using power tools and dealing with electrics and never go up a ladder without someone holding the base for you.'

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to join the police force but continues to love a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.