Safety equipment every Tradesman needs


No matter what your field of work is, safety should be everyone’s top priority.  There are a few items of PPE (personal protective equipment) that should be in every tool cabinet, and we are going to cover a few of those today.

Eye protection

The first form of PPE we want to talk about is eye protection.  The type of eye protection you need will vary based on the hazards from the work your doing.  For instance; flying debris, chemicals, and even the tool being used can be considered a hazard.   A few common types of eye protection include safety glasses, goggles, and face shields.

Safety Glasses

Safety Glass are commonly worn when flying debris and dust are present.  However, most safety ratings require side shields to be fully protected.  That is to say, just because you have ANSI approved lenses, doesn’t mean your glasses are safety rated.


Goggles are typically worn in the presence of chemicals because of the risk from not only splashing, but also mist and spray.  Therefore, it is common to see a full faced respirator used.  This not only protects your eyes, but also from breathing in the chemicals your dealing with.

Face Shields

The type of face shield that you wear will vary depending on the hazard.  Shields are commonly used in a variety of trades.  Electrical workers use them to protect against arc flashes.  Others use them to protect against intense light caused by welding and cutting.  Most regularly face shields are used to protect from flying debris, because of the protection that is offered to the face.  However, to be considered fully protected, it is generally required to wear safety glasses underneath a face shield.

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is also an important PPE that everyone should have.  It is recommended that any noise over 85 decibels use protection. There are two common types that people use, earplugs and ear muffs.

Ear plugs

Ear plugs are inserted directly into the ear canal.  There are different styles of ear plugs and it’s important to use a style that fits properly and is comfortable to wear.  Foam disposal plugs are popular because they form to your ear. However pre-molded and reusable plugs are also available. Ear plugs are also not recommended to use when the the noise level exceeds 105 decibels.  

Ear muffs

Ear muffs are made up of sound-deadening material and soft ear cushions that fit around the ear in hard plastic cups.  While ear muffs are generally a better option, because they provide better protection, they do have some disadvantages.  For instance, they are typical more expensive. Another common issue is compatibility with other safety gear, such as fitment with face shields and safety glasses.  


The type of glove you should wear varies greatly with the hazard your dealing with.  Heat, Chemical, and Cutting are all potential hazards that you have to consider when choosing the right glove.  Not all gloves are created equal and its important wear the correct glove for optimal protection.


Your commonly going to encounter a heat hazard when welding or using a torch.  There are a variety of leathers that welding gloves are made from, and each has its own benefits.  Deer, pig, and goat skin gloves are thin, soft, and pliable which provide better sensitivity and control.  Gloves made from this leather are better suited to low temperature welding and cutting.  Cowhide and Elk Skin are thicker and offer more abrasion resistance and heat protection.


Chemical Resistant gloves are typical made from latex, nitrile, and neoprene.  Each glove protects you from a specific type of chemical for a limited amount of time.  Gloves are rated based on their material, thickness, and length.  Now we could talk about the degradation and permeation rates for each glove.  However, the science behind that can get pretty confusing.   So as a basic rule of thumb, the thicker and longer the glove, the more coverage you’ll have, for a longer time.  It is important to remember that the harsher the chemical the faster the glove with degrade and expose you to the hazard your dealing with.


PPE can include many other forms of protection but most of those are occupational related and are often issued by your employer.  However Ear, Eye, and Hand protection should be used every time, whether it’s a work related or a DIY project.  Keeping yourself protected will result in many more projects to come.


While every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information in this article is made, Real Tool Talk does not guarantee the information to be correct or current.


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