At some time or another, most of us take on a home improvement project. Think about your last undertaking. Whether you acted of your own volition and built that intricate mosaic end table you've been dreaming of, or you acted out of necessity and fixed a leaky faucet, chances are you could have benefited from some safety gear. Even if you're no handyman and you don't seek out opportunities to fix or build things, you should still keep some staple pieces of protection equipment on hand for when DIY projects come up. These five core items will help keep you safe and make your job easier!
Safety goggles help protect your eyes from debris like dust, wood or metal shavings, especially when you're using power tools that create flyaway particles. Eye gear also guards against toxic solvents like furniture varnish, polish and general household cleaners. Protective goggles are bigger than typical reading glasses (some models are designed to fit over your glasses), and they wrap around the sides of your face. They're inexpensive and widely available. Make sure to select ones that fit your face well, and try them on before making your purchase. Look up and down and side to side. If the goggles stay on the bridge of your nose comfortably, you've got a good fit.
Some projects around the home require the use of loud tools like a jackhammer, chain saw or drill. Before you tackle these tasks, insert earplugs to protect your ear drums -- they're more sensitive than you might think! If you're exposed to sounds 85 decibels or more for extended amounts of time -- which isn't unimaginable if you're using a lawn mower, leaf blower or woodworking tools -- you are contributing to noise-induced hearing loss. What's more, the damage done to your inner ear is permanent. Hearing protection devices come with a noise reduction rating (NRR), and most of them block out approximately 20 decibels of noise. You can achieve maximum reduction (about 50 decibels) by wearing canal plugs along with earmuffs. Canal plugs can be purchased over-the-counter, or you can have them custom-made.
A pair of good-quality all-purpose work gloves is a staple piece of protection gear for house duties. Wear them when handling heavy or sharp objects that can pierce your skin, including wood furniture or planks that can splinter. There's no "right" kind of glove for you, as it's a matter of personal preference. There are many styles available that vary by fit, material and extra features. Select a pair with characteristics that are best suited for your most common chores and projects. Tight-fitting styles make it easier to handle items and to feel what you're doing through the material. Softer, thinner fabrics like cotton or polypropylene might be more comfortable, but they aren't as hardy as leather or rubber. Some gloves are made with gripping material on the inside pad of the hand or fingertips, which can help you grasp objects as you're working.
Whether you're fixing a leaking pipe under your sink, laying tile or scrubbing baseboards, these DIY projects will require that you kneel down. To keep your knees bruise- and ache-free, use kneepads or a portable mat. There are loads of styles and materials to choose from. If you need to get up and down and reposition yourself often, kneepads work great. On the other hand, if you can work from the same spot on the ground, a portable foam work mat or even an automotive vinyl work mat might be more comfortable. Kneepads cost around $5, while mats are more costly.
Having some kind of protective clothing in your DIY gear arsenal is important. What you have on hand should be determined by what kind of DIY projects you tend to take on. If the most intense thing you do around your home is general cleaning, maybe all you need is an oversized T-shirt or apron to protect your skin or clothing from cleaning agents like bleach. Keep steel-toe boots around if you use dangerous equipment regularly like a lawn mower or weed wacker. Disposable protective coveralls are only a few dollars, and they offer full-body protection against things like dust or chemicals.
Read Shared Walls: Why Fixing Cracks Should Be at the Top of Your DIY List. Keep reading to learn why fixing cracks should be at the top of your list.
- American Floor Mats: Portable Kneeling Mats. 2010. (May 26, 2010).http://www.americanfloormats.com/portable-kneeling-mats
- Armstrong, Amanda. Real Simple. "Essential Tools for DIY Projects." 2010. (May 26, 2010).http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/home-improvement/maintenance-repairs/essential-tools-diy-projects-00000000016945/page17.html
- DIY-HQ: 10 Must Know Power Tools Safety Tips. 2010. (May 26, 2010).http://www.diy-hq.net/power-tools/ten-must-know-power-tools-safety-tips.html
- The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. "Noise-induced Hearing Loss." Feb. 9, 2009. (May 26, 2010).http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/noise.asp#who
- Northern Safety and Industrial: Protective Coveralls. 2010. (May 26, 2010).http://www.northernsafety.com/Top-Products/protective-coveralls
- Protective Work Gloves. 2010. (May 26, 2010).http://www.google.com/products?q=work+gloves+protection&hl=en&aq=f
- Wynn Pastor, Amy. AO Safety: Home Improvement Safety Tips. 2005. (May 26, 2010.)http://www.aosafety.com/select/tips.cfm