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Live Longer With This Handyman Safety Equipment

The handyman business is a healthy profession – especially when compared to working a desk job. I personally feel much better when I’m working with my hands all day when compared to hunching over a keyboard.

But still, there are health risks that come with the territory.

Sure, there are obvious risks like cutting off a finger or losing an eye. But, there are other health risks that deserve equal attention to avoid.

Toxic chemicals, dust, and certain repetitive movements may not have an immediate effect on the way you feel, but they can significantly impact longevity.

Since I’m all about increasing my functional lifespan, I’m always on the hunt for ways to reduce these un-assuming risks. Not only is it better for my health, but it makes the job much more enjoyable when I know I’m not ruining my body.

So, in this article, I’m going to share the tools and equipment I use to keep myself safe and healthy while running my handyman business. If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments below.

Disclaimer: I’ve conveniently added links to each product to make purchasing easy. These are affiliate links, which means if you click them and then make a purchase, I get a small commission (at no additional cost to you.) This allows me to continue posting free content like this. Enjoy!

#1 – Raven Black Nitrile Disposable Gloves

I was introduced to these at a contractor’s adhesive specialty store, and I fell in love with them instantly.

Most rubber gloves rip easily, making it pretty much pointless to even wear them. These Raven gloves rarely ever rip since their made with 6 mil nitrile.

If you’re tired of rubber gloves ripping all the time (or worse, you don’t even wear them) then order these right now to start protecting your hands from chemicals.

Uses:

Anytime I’m working with chemicals – whether that is painting, caulking, or staining some wood.

#2 – Gorilla Grip Gloves

I’ve tried all kinds of gloves over the years, and these are my favorites. I think these were originally designed for mechanics – but I find myself wearing them on almost a daily basis.

I love these gloves because they are just thick enough to give your hands some protection, without ruining your dexterity or grip. You can still pick up and manipulate screws, use a drill, or even hold a nail to hammer it. They’re also relatively cheap and last just as long as some of the more expensive gloves.

Uses:

Landscaping, mechanical work, and a million other projects.

#3 – Dust Respirator

Standard dust masks are pretty much pointless because dust just sneaks in around your nose. Plus they constantly fog up your safety glasses. But, a respirator like this one will seal against your skin making sure that any air that gets into your lungs has passed through the dust filters.

Yes, these are bigger and more bulky, but they’re much more effective. Plus they last longer. You can even buy replacement filters once these ones wear out (which is about 40 hours of use).

Uses:

Anytime there is significant dust, insulation fibers, or anything else floating around in the air that you don’t want in your lungs. This is especially nice when dry cutting stone since silica dust, which is in pretty much in all rock, can give you all kinds of nasty diseases.

#4 – Organic Vapor Respirator

Dust isn’t the only thing you want to avoid breathing in. Fumes and toxins in the air from off-gassing stains, paints, solvents, and adhesives can be equally, if not more damaging to your health. That’s why I always carry one of these in my truck.

I’m not 100% certain how effective these are, but you can tell it’s doing something when you take it off and realize you couldn’t even smell the chemical you were using.

Uses:

Anytime you are using something that says “use in a well-ventilated area” (which is pretty much every chemical). They are just a nice insurance policy, especially when using a sprayer.

#5 – Knee Pads (These are the best ones)

Knee injuries are terrible, and since there are certain times when you need to kneel on your knees, knee pads are essential.

Now, I’ve tried all kinds of knee pads. To date, I’ve invested at least $500 in knee pads. The problem with most is they never stay in place. They either slide off to the side or end up sitting around your ankles.

The best knee pads I’ve found are actually the cheapest ones you can buy – the basic foam knee pads with one simple velcro strap that wraps around the top of your calf muscle. No, they aren’t the best padding, but they stay in place which is a must. They are also lightweight and cheap. The downside is you’ll need to buy them regularly.

Now, if you’re planning to do some flooring and spend a lot of time on your knees, then many contractor’s swear by the knee pads from proknee.com. They’re expensive, but the best things usually are. I’ve got a flooring job coming up and I just put some of these on order to try them out.

Uses:

Flooring, patio installation, gardening, furniture assembly, working in a crawl space, and any time you are on your knees for more than 30 seconds.

#6 – Earplugs

I have tinnitus (my ears ring), probably from going to concerts without ear plugs in my twenties. Tinnitus sucks, but at least I still have my hearing. I plan to keep it that way, which is why I always wear earplugs when using loud power tools.

I like these small earplugs because I can carry them around in my back pocket easily and pop them in my ears when I need them.

Uses:

Operating power tools, banging with a hammer, hammer drills, and even mowing the lawn.

#7 – Safety Glasses

Honestly, 9 times out of 10 I just use my sunglasses since they are on my head already, but occasionally I need something without tinted lenses so these are good to have.

Uses:

Using power tools and especially when using a wood chisel.

#8 – Sun Hat

The right amount of sun is important for your health. Too much is one of the fastest ways to age yourself. Since I’m not a fan of putting chemicals on my skin, I mostly opt for physical barriers instead of lotions.

A good sun hat is essential if you’re working outside for any longer than an hour. And the Columbia ones are great because they’re lightweight, you can stuff them in a bag, and they have ventilation so they keep your head cool.

Uses:

Whenever working out in the sun for more than 1 hour. (or less if you’re a ginger)

#9 – Columbia Sun Shirt

Again, physical barriers are better than sunscreen lotions – and these Columbia shirts are amazing. Their made of SPF material, are super lightweight, and have vents in the back to keep you cool.

Whenever I’m wearing one and I come across somebody else who owns one of these shirts, they always comment on how awesome they are.

Even though they are long sleeved, they will keep you cooler than having your shirt off.

Uses:

Whenever you’re working in the sun for long periods of time. (Or even if you’re at the beach or hiking)

#10 – First Aid Kit

This is something I would have never thought to buy for myself, but luckily my wife got me one for Christmas to keep in my truck. I don’t use it often, but when I need it I’m so happy to have it.

If you don’t have one, buy one right now. Plus, I’m pretty sure these are required by OSHA if you have employees.

Uses:

Keeping small cuts from getting infected.

Conclusion

Small injuries are bound to happen, but as long as you have the right protective equipment and you actually use it, providing handyman services can be a safe and healthy profession. Much healthier than working a desk job in my opinion.

Have any equipment recommendations? Please share them in the comments below.

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  • Adam Sharpley May 24, 2017

    Observing safety procedures and wearing safety equipment is a must in any outdoor job. I am a roofer and we always educate home owners to select only those roofing companies who incorporate safety procedures, use best safety equipment and are completely insured.

  • Christian Petersen May 24, 2017

    These are the greatest knee pads of all time. 5 years and they are holding up strong plus they are so comfortable!! I have bad knees and have tried them all. Love these!
    http://amzn.to/2qXzfBE

    • Dan Perry May 24, 2017

      Thanks for sharing Christian. I haven’t tried these ones yet.

  • Bob Brackpool May 24, 2017

    Good article Dan,
    I still can’t believe how many tradesmen I see not wearing the basic PPE. Ear and eye protection being the easiest to wear.
    Everyone is invincible when they are young.

    Regards

    Bob…

  • Chuck Nichols May 24, 2017

    Based on decades of occasional refinery work, when using hearing protection provided by refinery owners, the best earplugs are 3M Classic E-A-R. You can buy them in a 50 pack from Amazon, individually packaged in reclosable pillow packs. Even if you don’t see yourself ever needing 50 pair, the purchase is well worth it.

    • Dan Perry May 24, 2017

      I’ll have to try those out. Thanks Chuck.

  • Lance LaFountain May 24, 2017

    I have actually switched from ear plugs to ear muffs. I keep them right with my bench that holds my miter saw and table saw. Great article Dan!

  • Kris May 25, 2017

    I use a pair of shooting ear muffs whenever doing something loud for a long time like removing thinset with a demo hammer, and that lets me comfortably put in earbuds for some music. My set up is $10 or so, but 3M makes a pair of noise canceling Bluetooth enabled earmuffs for $50 or so that achieve the same purpose.

  • Kenny May 26, 2017

    Great article and quite timely. The respirator you showed is the same as mine which you can switch out the filters from dust to the organic vapor with about a quarter turn. I have been known to switch filters without taking it off. It also keeps you from having a metallic flavor after grinding metals. One thing I try to do about once a week (sometimes daily) is clean it inside then out with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. It keeps the moisture from causing mold buildup as I store mine in a plastic ziploc bag. Another use for earplugs that I recently learned of and started wearing them for is welding to keep slag from getting in the ear canal.

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