9 Safety Essentials Every Installer Should Have
As an installer, you're often faced with potential hazards when working on a job site. Even within the confined space of a closet, you're susceptible to an array of accidents - whether it's dropping a weighted object on your toes, slicing your hand with a utility knife, or just getting dust in your eyes. Luckily, there are ways to avoid such accidents.
The most effective method to ensure you're safety is to PREPARE. In this case, preparation means arriving at an installation with all of the necessary protective gear. If you're not sure what safety equipment to bring to an installation, here are nine items that will protect eyes, ears, hands, and more.
1. Eye Protection
Whether it's sawdust or debris, installation projects generate several hazards that can cause severe eye damage. Thankfully, there's a simple solution to prevent debris from getting in your eyes - safety goggles. It's essential, however, to make sure you buy safety goggles explicitly designed for carpentry. Otherwise, they might not provide adequate protection.
If you don't already have a pair, here are a couple of suggestions. For the most bang for your buck, it's worth checking out this pair from DeWalt. Not only will they last you a long time, but they're relatively cheap. If you wear eyeglass, a great brand that will accommodate your frames are Solid safety glasses. However, you can also order special goggles to match your prescription lenses.
2. Hearing Protection
Never take your physical abilities for granted, especially your hearing. While loud power tools may not immediately impair your hearing, continuous exposure over time can cause serious damage to your eardrums.
The most effective way to preserve your eardrums is to wear earmuffs or earplugs when operating heavy machinery. Any local hardware store or national chain will offer a variety of earmuffs and earplugs. If you're unsure which direction to take, here's a comprehensive list of hearing protection gear to consider.
3. Cut-Resistant Gloves
In a profession that demands dexterity, your hands are one of your greatest assets. Therefore, it's essential to protect them at all costs. One of the best ways to do this is to invest in cut-resistant gloves, which offer protection from tools with sharp blades.
Finding the right pair of gloves can be difficult because there's an endless selection to browse. But at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference and how much you're willing to spend. If you need some help deciding, here's an excellent article that ranks the top 14 carpenter gloves on the market today.
4. Protective Footwear
It may seem like common sense but always wear closed-toe shoes - specifically steel-toe boots, if possible. When your toes are exposed, you run the risk of dropping something heavy on them, which may result in a severe injury. By wearing closed-toe shoes, you can rest assured knowing that your toes will be safe for the entirety of the workday. Just try not to stub them when you get home!
Another aspect of your footwear to consider is grip. Think about it…walking is nearly impossible on a slippery surface. So why not give yourself the optimal grip on your feet? To do so, make sure you're wearing relatively new shoes so that the tread on the bottom of the shoe is still intact and capable of providing satisfactory grip. If you've had your shoes for quite some time, occasionally check the tread to prevent any slips, trips, or falls - the leading cause of workplace injuries.
5. Knee Pads
Most projects require you to work on your knees, even if it's only for a few minutes. So, show up prepared! Wearing knee braces or bringing appropriate padding will make working on your knees much more bearable. And in the long run, doing so will help preserve your knees, as well.
If you're looking to purchase knee pads, here's a cheap, reliable pair from Lowe's. But if you want to save even more money, one suggestion is to bring a thick towel or blanket to place below your knees.
6. Dust Mask
Not only is dust hazardous to your eyes, but inhaling dust can be detrimental to your lungs - especially over the course of a career. That's why it's essential always to come prepared with a dust mask, which will filter any harmful debris as you breathe in the air.
So, which facemask should you buy? If you're looking to continually use the same dust mask, your best bet is either the 3M 6500 or the GVS Elipse P100. However, if you'd prefer to use disposable dust masks, you can buy packs of N-95 masks on Amazon or in most hardware stores. Believe it or not, these disposable masks by 3M offer excellent protection for your respiratory system.
7. COVID-19 Mask
While a dust mask can effectively filter out bacteria, you probably don't want to wear your dust mask the entire installation. Therefore, it's important to remember a cloth mask to protect yourself from contracting the virus.
Moreover, the customer will likely expect you to wear a mask, so you should always respect their wishes. After all, Penmarc's business model is predicated on providing excellent customer service.
8. Headlmap or Work Light
When you're working in tight spaces, such as closets, lighting isn't always optimal. This can be a hazard because working with tools and machinery in the dark is a recipe for disaster. However, if you're equipped with an LED headlamp or work light, you will avoid any unnecessary accidents related to visibilty.
Whether you choose a headlamp or work light is a personal preference but may depend on the logistics of an installation. A headlamp is helpful if you need direct light on a small area. For instance, when drilling a hole or screwing something into the wall. On the other hand, work lights are convenient because they can illuminate your entire workspace. If you're interested in purchasing a work light, here's a list of the industry's best and most affordable options.
9. First-Aid Kit
Hopefully, you can avoid any serious accidents between the cut-resistant gloves, close-to shoes, and all your other gear. However, you should always be prepared just in case an accident does occur.
Of course, being prepared doesn't mean knowing how to perform life-saving surgery. But you should always have a handy first-aid kit with you to deal with minor injuries or accidents. If you don't have one, visit the Red Cross store online for a large variety of first-aid kits that include items such as band-aids, gauze, tape, disinfecting wipes, and more.