We talk about tools a lot, but a constant companion to any do-it-yourself project should be proper safety gear. It may not be as fun as tools, but these must-have items will protect your vision, hearing and lungs during any activity.
You can make a case that eye protection should be used for almost every DIY project. From sanding to painting, to landscaping and building, it's best to be over cautious when it comes to protecting your vision. Here's a simple rule of thumb: wear eye protection during any activity that involves striking (for example, hammer hitting a nail) or airborne particles (for instance, woodworking or outdoor work).
Protective glasses are extremely lightweight and inexpensive, so there is no excuse to not have multiple pairs available at all times. They are also available tinted for sun protection and provide better protection than regular sunglasses.
Protective goggles provide the best protection. They fit snugly onto your face and the elastic headband prevents them from slipping or falling off. They can also be used over eyeglasses.
From earplugs to earmuffs, any hearing protection is better than none. The orange foam earplugs are suitable in a pinch, but for everyday applications, invest in a pair of protective earmuffs that will offer the most protection and comfort.
A good pair of durable earmuffs will cost $20-$30. Avoid the style used by musicians which are light duty and not meant to be tossed into a toolbox. A great middle ground option between earplugs and earmuffs is the earband. They are earplugs connected to a pliable band that wraps around your neck. They are less obtrusive than earmuffs but more effective and reliable than earplugs.
An Air Respirator
When doing fine sanding, painting or metal work, it's advised to always use an air respirator, which will remove a large percentage of particulates from the air.
Air respirators do have one drawback, though: the heat they retain can be uncomfortable, especially on a hot and humid day. The 3M Particulate Respirator has a cool flow exhalation valve that allows hot air to escape from the mask.
Stock up on safety gear during your next trip to the hardware store and get into the habit of using them for every project.
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