In all my years in manufacturing, the subject of Personal Protective Equipment caused more debate and dissension than you might imagine. What you have to wear, when you have to wear it, if you can have facial hair, your obligation to care for the equipment or share the costs are all topics that sometime even find their way into collective bargaining agreements.
I once worked in a paper mill that had a chlorine storage tank. Because of the tank, it was decided that everyone that worked within a certain distance of the tank must pass a fit test for respirators, and could not wear beards as they affected the ability of the respirator to save your life. So imagine how interesting it was to participate in developing a rule that employees could accept, allowing those who already had beards to continue wearing them. Yep, they had the right to refuse the equipment, which in the event of a chlorine leak, would almost certainly lead to intense criticism for allowing employees to make such a ridiculous choice.
At home, no one is advising us. We have to educate ourselves on this. There are certain fundamental things you can (and probably should) do to assure your safety on the home. What seems like an unnecessary expense could be the difference between going to dinner at the end of a chore day or going to the emergency room. So here are a few ideas that I hope you will consider.
- There are a number of types of gloves available for you to choose. Leather gloves for heavy lifting and rough materials. Cotton gloves with textured palms and fingers. Knit gloves with a waterproof coating that are good for gardening. Vinyl, latex, or synthetic gloves that are impervious to most chemicals, good for handling paints or even picking up after your puppy!
- Eye protection may be advertised as fashionable, but few would agree. Nevertheless, whether you need goggle type for use around your table saw, or wraparounds when using power equipment in your yard, you can find a pair that meet your needs and can even fit over prescription eye wear. And don’t kid yourself that your regular glasses are “good enough”.
- As far as ear protection goes, I prefer the small foam type that you compress and then insert in your ear canal. But there are many other types that you can find that include those tied with string and some at the end of a plastic arc that fit behind your neck.
Every task that you do is worth looking at for safety purposes. Can it be done more safely? Is the only thing that is keeping your from that next step the fact that you haven’t bought what you need? The you should prioritze getting those items, use them, and take steps to keep yourself safe.
Thanks, and let’s be careful out there.