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Best Safety Gear for Home Improvement – A Comprehensive Guide
When you are undertaking a home renovation, apart from deciding exactly what your project will involve, you will also need to think about the tools you will be using, and what you can do to ensure you complete the project safely. Today we are going to show you the best safety gear for home improvement, so you can make sure you have everything in place before your project starts.
DIY projects always come with a risk, so during a home renovation project, it’s important to not only think about your personal safety, but the safety of anyone else who will be around at the time that the work is being carried out, even if they are not directly involved in the work. Things like plaster dust can travel around and be breathed in by anyone in the building, so depending on what it is you are doing, you may need additional safety gear for visitors or guests.
In this article, we are going to talk about the most essential items of safety gear, that every DIY enthusiast should have alongside their toolkit. We will also discuss the potential risks involved, so you know what to think about while you are planning your project.
Potential Risks When Carrying Out Home Improvements
What could go wrong? You need to think about each task that will be happening, and what the dangers could be. It’s a good idea to write all this down in a notebook, so you can remember what you need. Here are a few of the potential hazards and risks that could occur when you are carrying out home improvements…
Breathing in dust
DIY can be dusty work! Tasks like drywall sanding, sanding down wood, cutting tiles and even clearing out areas that have been unused for a long time can potentially create dust that you could breathe in. Wearing a mask or respirator can save you from breathing in the dust. Make sure you have a mask for yourself as well as spare masks for any visitors or helpers who will be working with you.
As well as wearing a mask, it’s a good idea to make sure there is proper ventilation in the building you are working on. If not then you should try to keep doors and windows open if you can to ensure a good flow of air around the building.
Breathing in Mold and Other Dangerous Substances
Some renovation projects are tougher than others, and you never know what you will encounter. Breathing in particles from mold can be very dangerous and even cause long term damage to your lungs, so if you do spot any mold then be sure to take the proper precautions. Another dangerous substance that can be breathed in is dust and urine from any rodent infestations. If you intend to clear an infestation by yourself then make sure you are wearing the correct protective clothing and respirator (which we will talk about in a minute).
Broken fingers and toes are a common hazard during home renovations and DIY projects. Since you are often carrying heavy objects it can be easy to lose your grip and drop items on your toes (ouch!). Falling from a height can also cause broken bones, so you need to check that any ladders you are using are safe, and if you are working on a roof it might be a good idea to hire scaffolding.
Cuts and Bruises
Cuts and bruises can happen easily when you are working on a home improvement project. You need to be careful when you are working, and never carry out work if you are feeling very tired or are under the influence of alcohol. A first aid kit is a great item to have on hand in case of any cuts and bruises.
Depending on where you are working, and whether or not there are people working above you there could potentially be a risk of falling objects. If you are working in any area where there may be falling objects then protective headwear is essential.
Slips Trips and Falls
Slipping, tripping and falling are all hazards of being on a worksite. Actions you can take to help prevent any accidents include making sure your work area is always clean and tidy, making sure any loose wires are taped to the floor, cleaning up any spills as soon as they happen, and wearing strong sturdy work boots with a good grip.
Burns can occur when you are using any equipment that generates heat. It’s essential to use heatproof gloves if you are using any heated tools such a heat guns for stripping wood, as they can get extremely hot in a very short space of time, and take a while to cool down. Another burn risk is sunburn! If you are working outside on a hot day then make sure you cover up your skin with light-colored clothing or wear high SPF sun lotion.
Flying debris in your eyes
It hurts to even think about it right? There are few things worse than getting a small sharp flying object stuck in your eye. There are certain tasks where the risk of getting things in your eye is a bit higher, such as cutting through tile, stone, or brick with a fast-spinning blade. Working with glass and metal is also a risk, so you should ALWAYS wear protective glasses in these situations.
There is always a risk of fire wherever anything electrical is being used, as well as any tools with a heated element. To minimize the risk of fire you should make sure you check all of your corded tools regularly for any loose parts or defects, particularly with the wire.
When you are using heated tools always make sure you have a heatproof mat to rest them on for when you need to set them down. At the end of the day, take a quick walk around your work area to make sure that all of your tools are unplugged and switched off. It’s useful to have a small fire extinguisher on hand just in case.
The Best Safety Gear for Home Improvement
Now that we have talked about all the things that could go wrong during a home renovation, let’s talk about the best safety gear that you can buy to prevent all of these possible accidents!
Protective Eyewear (Glasses or Goggles)
You should never take your eyesight for granted. Wearing protective glasses or goggles is a really easy way to protect your eyes from any potential accidents, and they can potentially save your sight. They are not expensive, so there is really no excuse not to have a good set of protective eyewear in your toolbox.
There are a few different types of protective eyewear available, depending on the task you are carrying out:
- Safety Glasses. Safety glasses provide general eye protection for use in working environments where there might be dust, debris or any other flying particles. The lenses are wide enough to cover as much of the eye as possible and are usually made from plastic or polycarbonate so that they are strong enough to protect your eyes from a potential impact.
- Goggles. Goggles completely cover the entire eye area and are highly impact-resistant. Since they cover the entire eye area they can also help protect against any chemical splashes as well as debris and dust. They are large enough to be worn over prescription glasses if required.
- Helmets and Face Shields. Face shields cover the entire face, so it can be used to protect workers against chemicals, and heat, as well as debris. Helmets are commonly used for tasks such as welding as they provide full protection from any sparks and fumes that may occur during the work.
The Best Safety Glasses – DeWalt DPG94-1C Dominator Safety Glasses
The DeWalt Dominator Safety glasses are very comfortable to wear with rubber-tipped temples for a comfortable and non-slip fit. The lenses are made from polycarbonate, so they are highly protective against impacts, and they are available with either clear or tinted lenses. The lenses also offer full protection against harmful UV rays. Not only are these glasses very good value, but since they are also quite stylish and offer full UV protection many people also use them as sunglasses!
The DeWalt Safety Goggles are by far the most popular goggles around for home improvements. They are very comfortable and offer complete protection from dust and debris, and you can also wear them over your existing prescription glasses if you want to. They are anti-fog, so there’s no need to worry about the goggles steaming up while you are working. The lenses are very touch and scratch-resistant, so they will last a long time, no matter how often you are using them.
If you are working with chemicals for any reason then the 3M Chemical splash goggles are a very worthwhile purchase. They offer complete protection from any chemical splashes, as well as impacts from flying particles, so they are a great all-round pair of goggles to have as part of your safety kit.
Ear defenders are an important part of your work safety kit. Some power tools can be very loud, so it’s very important to use ear protection to prevent damage to your eardrums and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Ear protection should always be worn whenever there is noise exceeding 85 decibels.
There are two main types of ear protection:
- Earplugs. Earplugs are small and usually made of a soft foam or silicone so they can fit snugly into the ear canal. Since they are so small, they can fit easily into a pocket when they are not being used and can be easily worn underneath safety helmets or goggles with no discomfort.
- Ear Muffs. Earmuffs are much larger and cover the whole ear area. They are most suitable for very loud noises as they offer extremely high protection against loud noises.
The Best Ear Plugs – AMAZKER Bell Shaped Earplugs
The AMAZKER bell-shaped earplugs are super soft and comfortable to wear, they are made from soft memory foam so they mold to fit your ear canal perfectly for maximum protection. They come with an aluminum keyring case so you can make sure you always have them with you and make sure they stay clean. The noise reduction rating (NNR) is 32db, so these earplugs are perfect for many uses, such as construction, concerts and even sleeping.
The Best Ear Muffs – Fnova Safety Muffs
The Fnova Safety Ear Muffs offer the highest protection level of protection against loud noises, the noise reduction rating (NRR) is 34db, which is higher than most other ear defenders. They are made with a unique double-shell technology to offer high noise absorption, and the surround is made from soft foam so you can wear them comfortably for long periods of time. When not in use they fold up into a convenient compact bundle so that you can easily carry them around.
Safety gloves can help protect against cuts and grazes, burns, splinters, and blisters when you are working on a home renovation project. There are many different types of safety gloves available, but there are two types of safety gloves that you might need for your renovation project:
- Cut-resistant gloves. Cut-resistant gloves will protect your hands from cuts and scrapes when you are using sharp or bladed tools.
- Heat resistant gloves. Heat resistant gloves are made of special material to protect your hands from burns while you are using tools with heated elements, such as heat guns or welding.
The Best Cut Resistant Gloves – DEX FIT Level 5 Cut Resistant Gloves
The DEX FIT Cut resistant gloves will give you level 5 protection against cuts and jabs from sharp objects, so they are perfect to wear while working on your home renovation. The palm and fingertips of the gloves have a durable nitrile coating which is anti-slip for when you are handling slippery or smooth materials, and they do not twist when you are using tools such as screwdrivers.
The gloves offer unique air ventilation so you don’t have to worry about your hands getting sweaty and uncomfortable when you are working, and you can also use your smartphone while wearing them as they are compatible with touch screen phones!
The Best Heat Resistant Gloves – Olsen Deepak Extreme Heat Resistant Welding Gloves
If any of your renovation work involves welding or using a heat gun, then you will definitely need a good pair of heat resistant gloves. These gloves offer heat protection for at least 662°F, and they are cut resistant too. The gloves are very flexible and anti-slip, and they also absorb sweat, so you will be comfortable while you are working!
Knee pads are always a useful item to have when you are working on a renovation project. Constant bending down can take a toll on your joints, so wearing knee pads can give you a comfortable cushion to rest on while ensuring your knees don’t get bruised. Flooring, in particular, is a renovation task that night cause you to spend a lot of time on your knees, so it’s well worth investing in a good quality pair of knee pads.
The Best Knee Pads – Thunderbolt Construction Knee Pads
Thunderbolt construction knee pads offer heavy-duty protection for your knees while you are working. They are made from heavy-duty breathable neoprene with super reinforced stitching. The core is made from thick foam and soft gel to cushion your knee, and the front of the pad has a heavy-duty non-slip power shield, which protects the surface you are working on (such as a new wooden floor) as well as your clothes and skin.
If there is any risk of falling objects, such as if you are working on scaffolding or in an old building, then a hard hat should be worn every time you enter your work site. Wearing a hard had can prevent serious head injury or death if a hard or sharp object falls on you whilst you are working.
If you already have a hard hat but it is old, then you should check the manufacturing date, as you may need a new one. Most hard hats are recommended to be used for no more than 5 years after the manufacturing date, or 3 years from the date of issue, although there is currently no law on this.
The reason for the expiration dates is that the material can become brittle over time, and offer less protection in the case of an impact. Hard hats are not expensive so if you are unsure then you should buy a new one.
The Best Hard Hat – Pyramex Ridgeline Cap Style Hard Hat
The Pyramex Ridgeline Cap Style Hard Hat offers strong yet light-weight protection for your head. The back of the hard hat has padded rear suspension to provide more neck comfort, and it is adjustable, so it should fit comfortably on any sized head.
The airflow keeps your head cool while you are wearing it so there is no need to worry about getting a sweaty head during a long day at work in the heat. It’s a simple and affordable hard hat, but it could save your life so it’s definitely worth getting.
Protective clothing is important in the workplace, not only so that you don’t damage your regular clothing, but also because protective clothing has been designed with safety in mind, so it’s much tougher, and there are less likely to be small pieces that could get caught in tools or machinery.
There are a few different types of protective clothing available, here are the main ones you may need while working on a renovation project:
- Apron. A protective apron is a must if you are working with any liquids or oils that may splash on your clothes. An apron is useful as it’s easy to put on and take off as you need it, and it can be worn over your other clothes.
- High Visibility Clothing. High visibility clothing is important, particularly if you are working near a road, or near other moving machinery such as diggers or cranes during your renovation project. Wearing a high visibility jacket or shirt lets other people see where you are easily to help avoid any potential accidents.
- Work Trousers. Work trousers are usually tougher than regular trousers and quick drying so they are comfortable to work in. There are usually extra pockets to carry small tools as well.
- Protective Coverall. A protective coverall is useful to cover your clothes while you are painting or decorating. You can wear it over your regular clothes to keep them free from dust, dirt, paint, or anything else that might damage your clothes.
- Disposable Protective Suit. Disposable protective suits are useful for when you are working with any nasty substances or anything particularly dirty, like if you are clearing an infestation during your renovation project. These suits are worn over your regular clothes and thrown away once you are finished, so they do not need to come into contact with anything else.
The Best Protective Apron – Aulett Home Waterproof Rubber Apron
This waterproof protective apron can help to keep you dry and protected when you are working with water or chemicals. It is strong and suitable for professional use with long ties, so it will fit anyone who needs to wear it.
The Best High Visibility Jacket – Neiko High Visibility Safety Jacket
The Neiko High visibility safety jacket allows you to be seen easily in dark areas and any areas where the visibility is poor. There is a zip at the front so it will stay on securely and as well as being fluorescent yellow, there are also horizontal and vertical reflective strips to ensure maximum visibility in any conditions. It is breathable and lightweight so you can wear it over your existing clothes without overheating or feeling bulky.
The Best Work Trousers – TRU-SPEC Men’s 24/7 Tactical Pant
The TRU-SPEC Tactical Pants are perfect for wearing during the day while you are hard at work. The material is comfortable and quick-drying, and the fabric is Teflon coated so dirt can easily be wiped or brushed off.
The back and cargo pockets are expandable with hook and loop closures, and there are also two extra knife/accessory pockets with stiff fusing inner lining for protection. The knees of the pants are double reinforced, with extra pockets for knee pads if required.
The Best Protective Coverall – Dickies Men’s Deluxe Cotton Coverall
The Dickies Deluxe Cotton Coverall is the perfect coverall for wearing during renovation works. It completely protects your clothes from any dirt, dust, or paint, and it’s comfortable to wear all day long. It features dual tool pockets and a hammer loop so you can carry tools with you if you need to.
The Best Disposable Protective Coverall – DuPont Tyvek Disposable Protective Coverall
It’s always a good idea to have a pack of these on stand by. When you are renovating a new home you never know what you might come across, and if you need to do any particularly dirty work then these disposable protective coveralls are a lifesaver.
They are designed to be worn over the top of your clothes to protect you from dirt, dust, oil, and liquids so you stay clean and dry. They are comfortable to wear and reinforced in high-stress areas such as the knees, to reduce the chance or any rips or tears.
Protective footwear is one of the most important things you will need to buy for when you are working on your renovation project. It’s essential you have a good grip on the soles of your footwear to help you to avoid slipping over, and it’s also a good idea to invest in boots with steel toe caps.
If a heavy item should fall on your foot it could break your toes or even the bones in your feet. Having steel toe capped boots is an easy way to prevent this so they are definitely a worthy investment.
These steel toe capped boots are perfect for wearing on a worksite. The toe caps provide protection to your toes and feet, and the ankle provides outstanding support. They are made from genuine nubuck leather, with a slip-resistant rubber sole to ensure long-lasting durability. These boots also provide protection from electrical hazards if you are working in any areas with electrical faults.
Face Masks and Respirators
Face masks and respirators are designed to protect you from breathing in harmful dust and particles in the air.
A dust mask works by blocking large particles from the nose and mouth area, such as dust, or liquid sprays and splatters. Face masks are available in different thicknesses depending on what you need to use them for.
While a face mask does protect you from most large particles and droplets, it cannot completely protect against everything, due to the fact that they do not fit completely tight against the face, so very small particles and gases can still get through. Dust masks are suitable for jobs like woodwork and sanding or working in dusty areas.
N95 Respirators provide a very close fit to the face and filter out almost all airborne particles. The number N95 means that the masks filter out at least 95% of 0.3-micron test particles during testing. N99 Respirators filter out over 99% of airborne particles over 0.1microns.
The Best Dust Mask – Honeywell Nuisance Disposable Dust Mask
If you are working in a dusty area or performing a task that creates dust then these dust masks are essential. They are designed for comfortable protection against non-toxic dust, so are perfect for home renovations. They are humidity resistant and the adjustable nose piece allows you to create a fit that is comfortable for your face.
The Best N95 Respirator Mask – 3M Cool Flow Respirator Mask
If you are sanding paint then these N95 respirator masks are recommended. They filter over 95% of particles, and there is a ‘cool flow’ valve to make breathing up to 30% easier when wearing the mask.
The Best N99 Respirator Mask – Base Camp Breathing Mask
If you are looking for an extremely high level of protection for dust and chemicals then this carbon filter breathing mask from Base Camp is perfect for you, It offers over 99% protection. The nylon mesh construction means that your skin can breathe and that it’s lightweight and comfortable enough to wear all day. The mask is reusable and washable so it’s a better value than the disposable alternatives.
First Aid Kit
Wherever you are working, you should always make sure you have easy access to a first aid kit so that you can deal with any minor injuries or accidents.
Your first aid kit should be fully stocked with the following items:
- Plasters in a variety of sizes
- Sterile gauze dressings
- Sterile eye dressings
- Triangular bandages
- Crepe bandages
- Safety pins
- Disposable sterile gloves
- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- Micropore tape
- Distilled water for cleaning wounds
- Clingfilm to dress burns
- Alcohol gel or if you can’t wash your hands
You should check your first aid kit regularly so you know that none of your supplies are missing. If there is an accident you can respond quickly using items from the first aid kit. If it’s a serious accident you can still administer first aid while you are waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
The Best First Aid Kit – Protect Life 200 Piece First Aid Kit
This 200 pieces first aid kit is one of the most comprehensive first aid kits available, so you can be sure it will have everything you need in case of an accident at home. It comes in a durable rip-stop bag, and although it only weighs 1.5 pounds it is strong enough to carry everything you need, with extra space for any other items you would like to add.
An accidental fire can be devastating to your home, and in the worst case could cause loss of life. You should always make sure you do everything possible to ensure fire safety during your home renovation.
Some things you can do to improve the fire safety in your home are:
- Install smoke alarms in every room
- Store matches and electrical items safely
- Make sure electrical items are unplugged when not in use
- Use a heatproof mat for any heated tools to stand on
- Make sure you always have a clear escape route from wherever you are working
- Never block doors or exits
- If you are in a larger building then make sure you know the procedures and what to do in the event of a fire
- Have access to a fire extinguisher so if you can put out any small fired immediately before they spread
There are different types of fire extinguishers to safely put out different types of fires. You can see the classification letter (A, B, C or D) on the fire extinguisher so you know which type of fire it will be suitable for.
The different classifications of fires are:
- Class A – Ordinary combustibles, such as paper, cloth, and wood.
- Class B – Flammable liquids such as oils, gasoline, and oil-based paints.
- Class C – Electrical fires caused by faulty electrics such as machinery, wiring, fuse boxes, and appliances.
- Class D – Combustible metals such as magnesium or sodium.
The Best Fire Extinguisher for Home Renovations
The first alert fire extinguisher is a professional fire extinguisher that is suitable for use in class A, B, and C fires so are great for use in the home or workplace. It uses mono ammonium phosphate to safely extinguish fires and can be recharged by certified professionals after use, so you won’t need to buy a new one every time.
It features a wall mount bracket so you can fix it safely to the wall, and on the side, there is clear and easy to understand instructions with a diagram of how to use it.
A flashlight is one of those tools that you don’t realize you need until you actually need it. If there is a power cut or emergency it can be extremely dangerous to try to navigate a worksite in the dark, as there could be sharp tools around or even trip hazards. A good flashlight should be bright enough to light a room, so if you are working on a renovation project it’s a good idea to have something heavy-duty and powerful.
The Best Flashlight – Buysight Bright Rechargeable Searchlight
The flashlight packs a powerful punch with over 6000 lumens, it’s pretty much as powerful as you can get for a handheld torch. It is rechargeable, with two brightness modes depending on your needs. A full charge offers 20 hours of full brightness, so you won’t have to worry about being without electricity for long periods of time.
You can also use the battery as a USB power bank if you need to in an emergency. The flashlight is impact and water-resistant, so it’s definitely durable enough for use on a worksite.