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Last Updated: , Created: Tuesday, February 19th, 2002

The newest in safety equipment -- even for kids.

As people become more and more safety conscious, the products to protect us are getting better and better. If you are looking for safety glasses you need to decide what you are protecting yourself from. The minimum glasses protect from direct flying debris with a little side protection. Slightly better glasses will close in closer to the face. If you have a lot of dust or liquid, then you need the strap on glasses that are very uncomfortable, but they seal out everything from your eyes. Some even have filters for air to the eyes rather than small holes. Amazing enough you can now even find kid sized safety glasses. Although difficult to locate, Lee Valley Tools has them available through mail order.

Your ears need protection as well and there is a wide variety from ear plugs to muffs, and even some in the kids size again. An interesting detail of the best of the muffs, is that they have an "acoustical hole" designed to block out all the noise of machinery, but let in human speech. That way you can talk to your co-worker, or hear a warning, without having to remove your muffs and expose your ears to the louder machine noises.

If you are constantly picking up heavy objects, you should get a back support belt. Since you don't want a lot of pressure around your midriff all day long, get one that has Velcro tightening straps. You put on the belt in a comfortable position. Then just before picking up something, you grab the two side straps and put on the support pressure. It is just as easy to drop the pressure back to minimum when you are done. That way you don't have to take the belt on and off all day long.

When you need to protect your lungs, you have choices from simple cotton masks to full respirators that can filter out various different gasses. Check the mask and the canister before buying to be sure you are buying the filter that is for the task you have at hand. My wife wears one of these with a charcoal filter to family reunions to keep the smoke out.

If you look inside of hard hats you will see quite a difference. One gives you basic light weight protection against falling or sharp objects. The other is a full CSA approved construction hat that actually gives you considerably more impact resistance from all angles.

When I am working on a wood lathe I like to use the full face shield. It will sit high on your head, just like a welder's helmet, and then drop down with a jerk of the head, leaving both hands free as you move into action. It serves as glasses and dust mask all in one, and makes for eating a lot less in the way of wood chips. Just remember to lift the mask before trying to blow away dust.

Keywords: Health, Security, Safety

Article 1767