Must Have Auto Repair Safety Gear
The older I get the more safety conscious I become. Long gone are the days when I felt indestructible. When it comes to working on cars there are many opportunities to be injured. Luckily for do-it-yourself and professional mechanics inexpensive auto repair safety protection devices are readily available. In this article I’m going to focus on the three types of protection I use most. These are cost-effective solutions providing a lot of value. I will also point out some of the cheapest places to obtain these items, because we all know mechanics don’t make a lot of money and driveway warriors are always looking to cut expenses.
Latex Mechanics Gloves
There’s a big difference between latex and regular mechanics gloves. The regular varieties are not disposable and made of a fabric or leather material. These are most often used when grinding, working around hot exhaust or welding. The gloves I speak of here are stretchy tight fitting gloves that become like a second skin. I started using latex gloves about a decade ago when it wasn’t so popular to do so. At the time my hands were taking a tremendous beating and my girlfriend was repulsed at how they looked even after twenty minutes of scrubbing.The nice thing about these types of gloves is they can be purchased in a variety of thickness and in nitrile for those with allergies. You can get medical grade, often referred to as exam gloves, which are very thin for situations where less protection and more fingertip feel is required. Specialized mechanics grade nitrile disposable gloves are much thicker and hold up to heavy duty operations without tearing. Although they can be chemical resistant they are easily destroyed by harsher things like brake fluid or carburetor cleaner.The protection they provide can outweigh any comfort or cost issues. One of the major benefits is they prevent chemicals and oils from being absorbed through the skin. The other benefit is since they act like a second epidermis they reduce the severity of knuckle busting incidents. Although you still might be injured in this situation it would be far worse without the additional layer. The important thing to remember is you don’t have to wear them all the time. If you’re performing diagnosis, taking voltage readings or pulling check engine light codes you don’t need them. Put them on when you’re in the engine compartment replacing alternators, water pumps and operations where injuries are more likely.
Eye Protection for Auto Repairs
It’s hard to find a more important area to protect then your eyes. This is often a hard sell to younger mechanics for some reason. Although I resisted wearing these on a regular basis I became a believer when a coworker got an aluminum shaving in his eye. My supervisor at the time had me take him to the emergency room for treatment so that I could see what was involved. Long story made short, I have been wearing eye protection ever since. Often the main objection to wearing these is comfort or the ability to see properly. Safety glasses can fog up and hamper vision. This is because of the temperature differential between the mechanic working hard and the outside environment. The better vented the glasses are the less fogging is experienced. They also make anti-fog spray for glasses that works quite well. There are different levels of protection for different automotive repair operations. The three most common would be a face shield, safety goggles and lightweight glasses. Owning all three and wearing them at the proper time is a necessity. If you obtain eye protection that is comfortable you’ll be more likely to wear it.
Ear Protection Devices
This is one of the overlooked safety devices that is not only inexpensive but can also make a huge impact on the quality of life in an auto mechanics golden years. Ear protection devices can range from simple earplugs to noise canceling earmuffs. Both professional and do-it-yourself auto mechanics are often exposed to damaging noise. Striking something with a hammer or using air tools can produce extremely slow, almost unnoticeable degradation in hearing abilities. These auto repair safety devices are inexpensive. Earplugs start in the two dollar range and noise canceling headphones at around twenty dollars.
The three safety protection devices for mechanics discussed in this article are the ones I utilized the most. The only other safety precaution that’s more important is common sense. If you stop and think about the operation you’re about to perform and identify the dangerous areas, you can put together a repair plan that minimizes this risk. Therefore professional mechanics often say the most important protection device you have is your brain. Logical thinking goes a long way to preventing injuries while working on cars.