We often don’t think about our homes and public surroundings being hazardous, or that we could be putting ourselves at risk through many recreational activities we participate in. There are, however, measures we can take to ensure our safety at home, such as using personal protective equipment (PPE).
At home, no one can force the use of PPE, and often, recommendations fail to result in use. The National Safety Council (NSC) states that around 90% of all medically consulted injuries in 2017 occurred in homes and public spaces. Therefore, incorporating PPE into our daily lives could prevent a wide range of accidental injuries that are waiting to happen. In this blog, we focus on three types of PPE including safety eyewear, hearing protection, and hi-vis apparel, along with what recreational and leisure activities would benefit from their use.
Recreational Use for PPE
Depending on what activities you undertake, sawdust, sparks, flying debris, or chemicals could damage your eyes in the long run – making the use of eyewear at home essential. Additionally, with a growing range and variety of styles, safety eyewear is more accessible and ‘on trend’ than ever before, making them perfect for both home and leisure activities. Generally, the two common types of safety eyewear to use during recreational activities are standard wraparound glasses and goggles.
When at home, whether you’re mowing the lawn, doing DIY projects, using power tools or chopping wood, standard wraparound safety eyewear is optimal. They not only protect against flying objects, but depending on the lens type, they can also provide eye comfort and better vision. On the other hand, when working in the garage or around your vehicle, goggles are the preferred option as they can provide impact and chemical protection.
Moreover, for outdoor recreational activities, like hunting and sport shooting, choosing safety lenses that have a high impact rating with anti-reflective coating can help to eliminate distracting reflections. As for golfing and other sports that require sharp vision, consider adding amber or yellow tints, for example, as they can enhance contrast. Furthermore, for activities such as fishing, safety lenses with a polarized tint can cut glare from the surface of the water, allowing for not only better sight into the water but also better eye comfort.
Often we rationalize away the need for hearing protection for recreational activities, as the noise will only be present for a short period. However, hazardous noise exposure is cumulative; even a few seconds of a loud sound could contribute to potential hearing loss, making hearing protection at home and during leisure activities essential.
Generally, there are two standard types of hearing protection; earmuffs and earplugs. Earmuffs are the most popular option as they sit comfortably over the ears and help block loud noises from entering the ear canal. Some earmuffs can double as headphones, allowing you to enjoy music while shutting out unwanted sounds. If you’re after a cheaper alternative, earplugs are the best option. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes making for a comfortable fit while blocking out loud noises and preventing dust, water, or excessive wind from entering your ear canal.
Earmuffs are best used for loud power tools, home renovations, and mowing the lawn when at home as they can be quickly donned for short noise exposure, and then kept around the neck or a belt for quick access. They are also ideal when shooting as some earmuffs enhance noises in the forest such as a deer stepping on a branch and then turn into protection when a shot is fired.
As for earplugs, due to their malleability and discreet nature, they are ideal for attending concerts, firework shows, and auto races, as they can make loud environments more enjoyable for people who are noise sensitive. They are also great for motorcyclists as they fit comfortably under helmets and provide protection from wind and vehicle noise.
When most people think of hi-vis apparel, they think of construction or roadside workers. These and many other jobs that require workers to be seen clearly is usually when hi-vis is most prominent. There are, however, many great uses for safety vests outside of work, and most people may not realize the need for hi-vis until they experience a close call of their own.
Wearing a reflective safety vest while walking, jogging, or running at night is a great way to ensure motorists can see you clearly as even the most conscientious drivers benefit from seeing if there are pedestrians ahead.
Hi-vis apparel is also a great tool to help cyclist remain safe. When dealing with rain, snow or fog, it’s important to have hi-vis clothing that can help promote visibility as cyclists can be caught miles from home when there’s an unexpected shift in weather, compromising motorists from noticing them.
Furthermore, when hunting, wearing blaze orange hi-vis can offer a safer experience. Animals cannot distinguish the color, but fellow hunters can; therefore, you’ll be making yourself more visible to those around you and can help prevent accidental shootings.
Overall wearing PPE shouldn’t be considered a burden; every task you do is worth finding safety gear that fits the need. PPE is no longer work exclusive, and it’s time to start looking at recreational activities and ask ‘can this be safer?’ As safety gear continues to evolve with technological advances and wearer demand, there is no excuse to opt out of wearing it. Proper safety gear potentially could be the difference between a minor or major accident, so don’t risk it.