Building sites are dangerous. Already knew that but for an apprentice like me, they are doubly dangerous. Thankfully, Neil and Andy have been very good at directing my work effort ensuring I do things right and don’t put myself in harm.
And of course, I am covered from head to toe in PPE (personal protective equipment). It’s never going to be glamorous but it’s a definite must.
Goggles. The first set I purchased were not so useful. Building work is sweaty and dirty and the goggles regularly steamed up. Not very practical particularly when working up a ladder. So I upgraded to a different set and they are considerably better, and more comfortable. Purchased from Screwfix.
Face mask. The choice is enormous and complicated. Initially, I took advice from Travis Perkins – my local builders merchant. Purchased a twin pick of respirator moulded masks with valves . How naive of me. The work is so filthy I need a fresh mask every day. I then purchased a 10-pack out of necessity when in Screwfix (buying a first aid kit and eye wash kit). They didn’t feel as comfortable nor as effective as the first pack. Now I am using another pack of 10 purchased when back at Travis Perkins. The key thing is to make sure you have a valve on them (round plastic bit) and it can mould around your nose/cheeks. It filters out the gunk in the air so that you don’t breathe it in. I do sound like an extra in Star Wars but its worth it.
Gloves. Apprentice girl has small hands. Builders are (generally) men so the glove size option was limited to Large, X-Large, etc, but again Travis Perkins came to the rescue – and I cannot fault the gloves. Mine are called MaxiFlex Ultimate. Hands stay cool, no piercings despite dealing with tons of nails, shards of wood etc. Although they are still slightly too large, they are elasticated so they don’t feel loose. What is clear, is that they have saved considerable damage to my hands. The only cut on my hands to date is when I didn’t put the gloves on (and it hurt!).
However, the gloves do not stop the growth of calluses. Yes that is how hard I am working. My hands are no longer the pampered tools of my past. My next hand-holding romantic moment is going to be interesting!
As a side note on hands, they dry out incredibly fast in this environment and standard hand cream barely makes a difference. Andy recommended Teisen Skin Care from Mole Valley Farmers. It works…but be warned, its use is also recommended for cows and goats udders and horses legs. I am ONLY using it on my hands!
Boots. Oh my, how important are they. I bought my steel capped boots from an online store called Footloose Shoe Shop for £31. Not only are the seriously comfortable, I have felt nothing untoward happening to my feet despite the dropping of tools, bricks and a hammer drill on my tootsies – as well as standing on hundreds of nails. I love these boots. They are off the scale brilliant and worth every penny.
Ear defenders. Have you got any idea how loud a Breaker is. I didn’t. You can’t stay in the same vicinity if you aren’t wearing ear defenders. Travis Perkins had an end of line bin. I got mine from the bin . They seem to be the perfect fit bearing in mind I have a little head and tiddly ears! Am not sure they would fit a bigger head! Not sure Travis Perkins still sell them either but Amazon do if you need a pair to match mine!
I also have a hard hat and a yellow vest. Useful for my next French holiday after the building project finishes.
So there it is I am protected – mostly. Other than both my legs, arms and my entire torso which is smothered in bruises, mini cuts and tiny little holes made by terribly sharp objects.
Off to the Doctors now to get my tetanus shot!