The importance of safety equipment onsite is essential in the protection of eyes, ears, lungs, hands and feet.
Safety glasses, masks, earmuffs, gloves and safety boots are our go-to, but something that is occasionally overlooked is the protection of our skin. During the recent fires there were scary images shown of locals fighting fires where some were in shorts and thongs. I felt compassion and hoped they managed to avoid the flames. Our skin is our biggest organ and needs to be remembered as an essential part of our bodies to protect.
Working onsite one day I had a jackhammer lead arc out and shoot a blue flame into the board shorts I was working in. The shorts melted instantly and burnt my thigh. An older tradie came up to me later and explained the importance of wearing proper work shorts and pants to protect ourselves. After having a good think about it I chose to leave the quick-dry boardies at home from that point on.
Watching the RFS and firefighters in action on television the last few months has concreted the importance of safety gear in my mind, especially when you see people not wearing it in dangerous situations. Safety glasses, masks/ ventilated masks, earmuffs, gloves, safety boots and long pants and shirts that cover the skin with a durable, non-flammable material not only stop debris, splinters, ash, hot materials, impacts, and pinches, they also work as a vital heat barrier, which will protect you when you really need it.
If you are faced with a situation where you need to fight fires, treat it like a commercial worksite because for our fire fighters that’s precisely what it is. Put on every bit of work-related safety equipment you own from the head down– hard hats down to long pants and safety boots, cover your skin and wet yourself down. Your tradie safety gear could save your life both on site at work, and protecting your family and home in a bush fire situation.