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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keeping small cuts from getting infected.
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.