Someone who thinks clothing isn't important has never misplaced a tie before a formal business meeting. They've never discovered, while unpacking at the beach, that their swimsuit stayed home. Most of us accept that special clothing is required at a wedding, on a hiking trip, or for sports activities. We understand, too, that clothing construction changes over a period of years as new knowledge, materials, and techniques become available.
It's the same in your yard or garden. Many outdoor chores require specialized clothing, and the clothing is not the same as it was a few years ago. It's now lighter, stronger, more comfortable, and more protective. Here's a partial list of what to wear outdoors, approximate costs, and when the items are appropriate:
Bodywear - A new breed of lightweight coveralls ($5-20) is available for spraying pesticides or handling chemicals. Special pants or chaps ($60-80) of hard-to-cut materials are recommended if you use a chain saw. In an accident, they slow the saw's cutting, buying you precious time to react.
Headgear - A broad-brimmed hat ($10-25) will keep you cool during routine yard work and reduce your risk of skin cancer later in life. An approved hard hat ($5-10), not a baseball cap, protects from falling dead branches when cutting a tree. It's also the best protection for the top of your head when spraying pesticides or handling chemicals.
Eyewear - Safety glasses ($3-10), goggles ($4-15), or a face shield ($14-20) provide increasing levels of protection from flying debris produced by power equipment or the impact of hand tools. For handling chemicals, spraying, and some dusty conditions, choose splash-resistant goggles or a face shield with an overhang. For very fine dusts or smoke, unvented goggles are needed.
"Breathing" wear - For general yard work, a low cost dust/mist respirator ($.50-4) can filter out harmful particles and nuisance irritants. It will last longer and is much more effective than the more common single-strap dust mask. If gases or vapors are a danger, as with pesticides, a chemical cartridge respirator ($15-30) is required. When using any respirator, make sure the respirator is approved for the hazard encountered. For those who have trouble breathing through a standard respirator, lightweight helmets with powered filters are available for some conditions.
Earwear - Most power machinery produces damaging noise levels. Soft foam car plugs (10-25 cents) are comfortable and very effective. Muffs ($10-15) are ideal for times when you are exposed to dangerous noise repeatedly for short periods, since you can easily put them on and take them off.
Handwear - Chemical-resistant gloves ($2-15) should be used for handling pesticides or working with other chemicals. Leather gloves ($2-20) offer protection from cuts, bums, and vibrating or heavy objects.
Footwear - Chemical-resistant boots ($10-40), or booties ($1-7) are needed for handling hazardous liquids and sprays. For other outdoor activities, leather work boots ($50-100) with non-slip soles offer better protection for your feet and better traction than casual shoes or sneakers.
Over-the-ankle models also provide valuable ankle support.
For more information on outdoor protective clothing, or a list of dealers that carry these items, call your County Extension Agent or the Extension Safety Specialist at 615-974-7237.
This news release was distributed by the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, Knoxville, Tennessee 37901. Publication date: July 1993.
Joel B. Lown, Agricultural Safety Specialist, Agricultural Engineering Department, University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, Knoxville, Tennessee 37901.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More