Safety tips for DIY sat dish installation

With careful preparation and common sense, you may be able to install a satellite dish for TV and radio without too much danger or specialist skill. But it is vital that you take sensible precautions because of the heights involved, the use of ladders, electric drills and the weight of the dish itself.

These are commonsense tips and suggestions and do not constitute any kind of professional advice. You must make your own judgements about any specific situation or call in a professional sat dish installer.

Before you start, please read all these health and safety tips.

Risk assessment

  • Are you fit and strong enough to lift the dish and operate the equipment involved (see DIY Installation Tools)?
  • Are you able to climb ladders safely and remain steady at heights?
  • Do you have access to the necessary tools and equipment and know how to operate them?
  • Are all the tools and equipment, especially the ladders and the drill in good safe condition?
  • Is the position where you intend to install the dish accessible safely? If the desired position is above a glass-roofed conservatory, for example, you are strongly advised to find a better location or to call in a professional installer.
  • Are you temperamentally patient? This is particularly important if you do not have access to a professional alignment meter as you will need to make repeated adjustments to get the best picture.
  • Is the weather suitable? Ideally, you want a nice clear dry day without wind and allow yourself enough time to either complete the job or reach a suitable stage before it gets dark.

Safe working methods

  • Before starting, check that you have to hand all necessary tools, equipment and any other things that you will need to do the job.
  • Wear suitable clothing such as boots, safety helmet, strong clothing, jacket and possibly gloves.
  • Wear protective eye-wear (safety goggles), especially if there is any risk of debris e.g. from drilling or anything else that might poke you in the eye.
  • Choose the location of the dish carefully ensuring that it will have a clear line of sight to the required satellite/s and that the position is safely accessible to you using ladders if neccessary. Remember you may need to access again later, e.g. to realign the dish after a gale or storm.
  • When climbing the ladder, do not attempt to carry excessive amounts of equipment or tools; if necessary, make several trips up and down.
  • When carrying something heavy up the ladder, e.g. the sat dish, keep the weight low down (not above body height) and if necessary let it fall safely to the ground without you losing your balance.
  • Ensure that any cats, dogs or other distractions are safely out of the way.
  • Ensure that all adults and children in the vicinity are aware of what you are doing and keep out of the way.
  • Get a suitable adult to "foot" the ladder to ensure that it is stable at all times. If possible, attach the ladder to the wall or other secure surface.
  • Make sure that any cables, especially mains cables or trailing leads, never become trapped or entangled.
  • Make sure that you can use any cutters, blades or knives safely. Keep them out of reach of children.

In the event of an accident

Depending on the nature of the accident, you may need to take these or other steps as appropriate:

  • In serious cases, ring for an ambulance, paramedic or doctor.
  • If uncertain, consult a suitable medical information service.
  • If anyone has fallen, e.g. off the ladder, do not move them unless there is an over-riding need to do so.
  • If anyone is cut or bleeding, use suitable first-aid and get appropriate medical help, if necessary.
  • In the event of electrical shock, follow standard emergency procedures.
  • If anyone has banged their head, seek medical attention even if the person does not feel unwell.

Some of the advice above may seem daunting but please remember that most of it is general safety advice that would apply for a range of routine domestic DIY tasks such as painting your outside window frames, not just for satellite dish installation.

Related pages:

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Medical aid where it's needed most