Although not usually considered a tool, safety gear items are among the most important you can have on-hand. It's easy to undervalue or even ignore them, but please don't. We forgive you for not getting too excited about an accident that didn't happen because you were wearing goggles, steel-toed shoes, heavy duty gloves or a respirator. The time you're not spending in the emergency room is worthy of some respect and gratitude, though.
- Safety Glasses - About 1.25 million eye injuries occur in American homes every year, and many home repair projects are prime candidates for potential eye injuries. If you're using a sander, saw or paint sprayer, buy a quality pair of tight-fitting safety glasses that make a seal around your nose, temple and forehead. Before you start a project, evaluate the potential hazards, and always wear your eye gear if the job calls for it.
- Respirator - Like most filters, respirators are designed for specific applications, and you may have to invest in a mask tailored for the project you have in mind. Respirators are rated for effectiveness in filtering particulates, fumes or both using an Assigned Protection Factor (APF). Check the safety labels on your supplies for the recommended APF, and wear the right mask for the task.
- Steel-toed shoes - If you plan on lifting heavy objects, or even being in the vicinity when heavy loads are being relocated, gravity isn't your friend. Lose the running shoes in favor of something with additional protection.
- Heavy gloves - When you're working with saws, glass, wood, metal or wire, wearing gloves will keep your hands safer and give you an added layer of protection that could mean the difference between a minor injury and major bloodletting.