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After my recent eye injury we are discussing in another topic I have decided I need to up my PPE all the way around. I currently use disposable earplugs, a disposable dust mask, less than ideal eye wear, leather welding gloves, and general purpose high cuff cloth gloves (I only use when I absolutely have to have gloves and don't want/need to use my welding gloves). I also have a full face autodarkening helmet when it comes time for welding projects. I just bought myself a new pair of soft sided goggles but will be pursuing prescription safety glasses. I have been looking at respirators from various manufacturers and have no idea what I actually need since the shop is such a multi use area (welding, grinding, forging, and occasional woodworking projects including cutting, sanding, and staining). I'd like to get me some ear protection that I'm not going to be throwing away all the time. 

I will be doing plenty more reading and research as I can on the various equipment but would love to hear input from those here whom actually use it and can give good reviews on an item. When I say 'good reviews' I mean I want to know what to avoid as much as what would be good.

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I use earmuff hearing protection; I've tried a number of types/vendors and found that they range greatly on how comfortable they are for long term use; you will need to try out a variety for yourself.  I've liked Bilsom Vikings and get them at the highest dB reduction you can.  However what I generally use is what I find at the fleamarket being sold by idiots that were provided them but refuse to wear them.  I keep a set in the house, in the truck, a couple in the shop.  In winter they keep your ears warm!  Types I do not like wearing get pushed to the venues where I wear them least!  (as my wife is hearing impaired, I have to have a set in her minivan to wear on trips as she turns the "books on tape way up to hear them...  They are also great for rocking teething babies---they take the high frequencies that grate on your soul and allow you to comfort them for extended periods while retaining your sanity...)

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I wear ear muffs as well when working with loud equipment. Same ones I wear for shooting. Ear plugs work too if your muffs don't fit under the welding helmet. Almost nothing like the discomfort of getting a little spatter from welding in your ear, aside from getting something in your eye... 

I use a 3M 6000 series respirator with P100 filters for welding and other dusty situations. We use them at work for dust and I liked them so I use the same at home. For other chemical/ paint fumes we use the 3M 7500 kits and replace filters as needed. Check the chemical you are using for proper ppe.  The filters only last so many hours and less under heavier use! If I remember correctly it may have been about 8 hours? I will have to double check. Also when not in use you should seal your respirator in an air tight container.  

Most respirators come in sizes as well. You need fitted, or at least to find the right size for you.  Also if you are serious about it fitting properly you have to be pretty clean shaven around where it fits. ( probably why beards disappear when OSHA comes through the body shop once a year to check us :rolleyes:)  

one check is cover the air inlets with your hands and suck in. You should not get air in. Other is to cover the outlet and blow. Since you are basically holding the mask to your face, the mask should puff up and not let the air out. This also tests the mask. If the mask isn't functioning properly you could be wearing it but it isn't doing the job intended. 

 

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Thomas, I'll look into the Vikings ear muffs. I know next to nothing about hearing protection so that helps me greatly. 

Daswulf, I was looking on the 3M website at the 6000 series but wasn't sure. Thanks for sharing that.

Truth is I miss my old army issued face mask. I'm not a fan of being clean shaven but miss the protection that mask gave. I remember one time in training when we were in the field in 80+ F temps and having to wear our full hazard suit and going to the portajohn to take off my mask for a minute to cool off. Soon as I broke the seal I was nasueas like never before. I failed to notice that the John wasn't emptied yet that day and that was a strong odor to say the least. 

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I prefer the soft foam earplugs. The ones we have at work are the 3M orange ones from Home Depot, and they are very comfortable plus a high NRR, 33 I believe. Just read up on proper insertion, many do not put them in far enough. 

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Biggun, the ones I've been using are the soft foam kind that has a cord between them. I like them for the most part because they do their job well. I just don't want to continue throwing money away every day I'm in the shop. That's the reason I was asking about ear muffs. 

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Harbor Freight makes reusable soft plastic earplugs with the connecting cord. They're rated for 25 db noise reduction and cost about $2.50, so that's what, 10 cents per decibel?

They also come with a little plastic case and they're bright orange, so they're easy to find in a messy shop.

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I usually get a good week out of a pair of foamies. 80 pair for $15 would last me over a year. I like plugs because they don't make my ears all sweaty during the warmer months, they typically have a higher NRR, and unless your glasses have bayonet earpieces earmuffs can be very uncomfortable. 

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I have about 20 sets of muffs from HF all over the farm hanging on all steering wheels of equip, in all the shops in the trucks.  I have better quality muffs in my shooting bag but  have to use foam ear plugs to shoot trap as the muffs keep hitting my stock.  When shooting my  biggest Mags rifles I have plugs plus muffs.  Have shot for 55 yrs and at the beginning we never knew to use protection so  I have hearing damage, Army didn't help that much either.   

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I have a couple pair of Peltor muffs and one pair with AM FM radio that's better hearing protection. I should have said had the AM FM muffs, they died a violent death a few years ago, committed suicide by jumping out of a back hoe right under a tire. Had I only known they were so despondent, the least they could've done to warn me was sing the blues. 

I also wear the foam plugs, sometimes both. The only think I don't care for with plugs is getting them dirty removing them and the kind of crud I get on y hands has no place in your ear canals. However just put them in a small cloth or net bag and toss them in the wash they come out perfect.

I can't remember what kind of safety glasses I used to wear now I wear safety trifocals. Nor do I remember the large plastic goggles I slip over them. My face shield came from the welding supply a couple decades ago and I get replacement lenses at the Air Liquide down the road.

I'm more lax with dust masks, I paint so rarely I do it outside and hardly get a wiff. Welding smoke is more serious but cross draft and I use an exhaust hose to pull the smoke away completely. On the rare occasion I can't separate myself entirely from smoke in enough quantity to worry about I have a "3M Whitecap II" supplied air welding helmet, dry vane breathable air pump and 50' of breathable air hose. I also use the Whitecap if I'm painting and can't stay away from fumes or particulates. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I have a couple of buckets of the hard and soft foam disposable ear plugs, and a few various makes and types of passive ear muffs, these are to make sure that I have something that will suit every assistant or visitor....I have some electronic muffs for shooting, useful if at a range or with others so you can hear the RCO instruction, but when forging or shooting solo I prefer the better attenuation from the reusable ear plugs. I have some by 3M EAR Ultrafit UF-01-000SP these have an excellent SNR rating of 32dB I can't remember off hand whether the USA NRR is...one up or down relative to the European system...it will be NRR of over 30dB whatever. I wash the reusable ear plugs when I wash my hands, they clean up great with "Palms" hand cleaner.

The disposable fabric dust masks are basically ineffectual against anything really nasty, and you cannot check that they are sealing against your face so forget them. They provide nothing but an illusion of protection. 

If you are using proper face masks with replaceable cartridges......make sure you ask for the pre-filters and housings that clip on in front of the cartridge. For some reason the salesmen never tell you about their availability. The cartridges are rendered unusable when paint spraying not because the filter media is exhausted but usually because the large paint globules have smothered the inlet surface. If you use pre-filters the cartridges themselves maintain their effectiveness for at least 5 or 6 pre filters and 4 or 5 times their un-pre-filtered life. I put on two pre-filters in front of each cartridge and throw away the outer one at the first sign of reduced air flow...moving the remaining one to the front with the new one against the cartridge.

I have a couple of air fed face shields which are very good for paint spraying...again you can buy clear acetate disposable cover sheets which can be discarded and prolong the life of the visor indefinitely.

I use double palm welding gauntlets for power hammer forging, but ambidextrous gloves are more economic for hand forging...I always just use a left hand glove and hold my hammer barehanded. You either need ambidextrous gloves or do a swap of the unused hammer hand gloves with an opposite handed smith!

If you are using rotating machinery...do not use leather or the fabric and leather rigger type  gloves. Wear elasticated gloves which can be yanked off if caught in the machine without taking your hand in with it. Test to make sure the glove will come off by just pulling on one finger.

Find some good toe-tector boots, preferably with nitrile rubber soles if you use a coke fire.

Buy good quality comfortable safety glasses and wear them all day. Keep them on a string around your neck and never put them down on any surface in the workshop in order to keep them scratch free. All surfaces have abrasive dust. Have some prescription safety glasses made up if you wear glasses ordinarily.

Hot metal work, wear only cotton and wool clothing...no artificial materials. They can all burn but the natural fibres will not melt onto you.

In fact the single most important thing with any PPE is that it should be comfortable and pleasant to wear. It should be comfortable enough to wear all day...and not be lying on the bench in between activities. Everybody does it, and most people get away with it most of the time.

Be a lucky smith and learn by somebody else's mistake when it comes to preventable injury.

Alan

 

 

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Looking in to more IR specific safety glasses (my old ones were "safety sunglasses" and had some IR protection, but I couldn't track down what it was).  I stuck with Uvex (same brand as my old ones) and found this fairly helpful page:

http://www.coopersafety.com/lensguide.aspx

I know it has been written several times on this site about not worrying much about UV, but my old New Edge of the Anvil textbook does warn about UV as well.  Thankfully most safety glasses cover UV anyway.

I ended up picking up 3 to complement what I already had, and plan on using my brazing glasses (Shade 5) when forge welding when I need to glance in and see how things are going.

Otherwise I'll play around with the other varieties I picked up - so far I really like the SCT Gray lens (filters 85% of IR) as it actually seems to really bring the color out (though orange becomes red).

For the curious I also picked up the SCT Low IR (covers 40% IR, seemed better than standard safety glasses for general work when rarely looking in the forge at all), and an Infra Dura 3 (the SCT Gray is supposedly similar to an Infra Dura 2).

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Thanks for the input, Couchsachraga. I will be looking for IR lenses when I get my safety's made. I'm looking around pricing some options before I make an order but hope to be getting some soon. For now I'm still wearing my goggles on top of my glasses.

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Thanks to you guys for posting the info on IR safety glasses, including the list from Cooper safety (Couchsachraga).  I have been meaning to get some and this jogged my memory!  I ordered some that should fit over my Rx glasses.

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I use Uvex goggles in shade 3, which give great IR protection. They fit over my glasses if they have to, but most of time, I just do without. 

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If I could do without my glasses I would. If I take them off my wife can stand 10 feet from me and I can't see her face enough to recognize her. In order read anything without my glasses I have to have my face inches away from it. That said working with hot steel might be more than a little unsafe without eyes.

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34 minutes ago, Michael Cochran said:

If I could do without my glasses I would. If I take them off my wife can stand 10 feet from me and I can't see her face enough to recognize her. In order read anything without my glasses I have to have my face inches away from it. That said working with hot steel might be more than a little unsafe without eyes.

I've been wearing trifocals for a couple years now and the mid range slice is too small at the anvil, it never seem to be in focus but they're my safety glasses W/ side shields and poly carb lenses. I've tried a number of different tinted lenses including dydimium and don't like them.

My sight adjusts to different lighting conditions pretty quickly. Once I take the steel to the anvil, at most 2-3 times. You have more cues than just color to judge heat and forgability: feel through your holding hand and the hammer, sound and effects of the blows. 

I don't watch the stock in the fire, I only keep track of it. A few seconds every 30 seconds or minute isn't prolonged enough to cause damage UNLESS your eyes are already susceptible. I have no idea how your eyes are, I now my left eye was really light sensitive after the accident and again after the shingles. I'm either getting over it or adjusting.

Pick the best PPE you can and match it to YOU. They're your body parts, make them last.

Frosty The Lucky.

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49 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Pick the best PPE you can and match it to YOU. 

Here you go, Frosty:

IMG_20160421_105914034.jpg

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2 hours ago, Frosty said:

My sight adjusts to different lighting conditions pretty quickly. Once I take the steel to the anvil, at most 2-3 times. You have more cues than just color to judge heat and forgability: feel through your holding hand and the hammer, sound and effects of the blows. 

I could see the color and feel the responsiveness of the steel well enough to forge it. My problem would be seeing if it's evenly tapered, the punch is going in straight, etc. if I was to go without my prescription glasses. I have debated on getting contacts again, but I'm a little unsure how well sticking my fingers in my eyes might work these days.

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I suppose feeling the taper isn't really that practical. I wasn't trying to minimize the importance of vision I just got stuck on color. The nerve damage to my left eye makes depth perception wonky on a good day and lining up a punch or slitting chisel is a challenge. 

Oh well I'm not going to complain I'm kind of surprised I've lasted long enough the parts are wearing out.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I have parts wearing out too early thank to my rough play as a child. Doing things I was told I'd regret later was an every day thing for me up until about 22-23 then I started to listen but it was too late by then. 

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The resentment I feel with presbyopia and varifocal lenses is childish I know...so many people have not had the benefit of 20/20 through the rest of their life.

When I finally acknowledged that my eyesight had deteriorated and that reading glasses and non prescription bifocal safety glasses were no longer adequate I went to the optician and ordered a couple of pairs of large aviator style safety varifocal safety glasses. My idea of the big lenses, apart from maximum protected area, was to enable them to be mainly clear with the graded magnification starting below the centre point. So at the anvil I would be looking through clear glass. It didn't turn out that way.

When I put them on in the shop the optician said it will take a bit of time to get used to them. I thought, what does he know? They look fine. Thought I would leave them on, said thank you and goodbye, and as I went to open the door missed the door handle! Lesson one!

Then I got back to the forge I thought I would have a bit of a tidy up. There was a a 600mm offcut lying on the bench so I picked it up noticed it had a curve. I tapped it to straighten it using the correct position on the anvil and the right weight of blow based on 30 odd years of familiarity...and got a shock that it was now bizarrely over-bent. Then looked along it, and discovered it had been straight until I tapped it...some head scratching later I discovered that the glasses distorted horizontal lines...into a frown if they were above eye level and into a smile if they were below. Tilting my head up and down made them cycle! Lesson two!

Straightening long bars in the press with natural eyesight was so easy, by being able to look along the full length of 3 or 4 metres...I have to consciously alter my head angle now to focus at the different distances using a good light and it is just not as efficient or accurate...hey ho.

Getting older with bits wearing out is a pain.

But it sure beats the alternative as they say!

Alan

ps these sort of thing might help some people on a short term basis...while waiting for your prescription ones...cheap enough and being 3M should be available most places.

http://www.axminster.co.uk/3m-bx-readers-bifocal-safety-spectacles-ax866756

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