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Safety on the ‘stead

 
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While working on farms and construction sites and in fabrication shops, I have become a bit of a stickler for safety. I enjoy making things and being active and I want to keep doing that for the long term, and being unsafe jeopardizes that ability.

What are some important safety features or practices that you have implemented on the ‘stead?

I frequently wear a face shield when using power tools like saws and grinders. Face shields don’t fog up likes glasses, they’re much harder to lose, and obviously they offer way, way more protection. It also kind of keeps the dust off your face, which I’m sure limits the dust the operator would be breathing.
 
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Scott Lawhead wrote:I frequently wear a face shield when using power tools like saws and grinders. Face shields don’t fog up likes glasses, they’re much harder to lose, and obviously they offer way, way more protection. It also kind of keeps the dust off your face, which I’m sure limits the dust the operator would be breathing.

Brilliant! I've long struggled with not being able to keep safety glasses on due to fogging, especially when wearing a dust mask. Thank you!

Probably the most important thing I try to implement is to listen better to the internal voice that tells me I need to pause or stop what I'm doing. So many times, I've felt like that and been convinced for some reason I need to keep going. When I push past it is almost invariably when I end up hurting myself. For example, I recall using a gouge on a carving project and thinking "I should really take a break." But I didn't and only seconds later, ended up gouging my finger so badly I got dizzy and had to lay down. I've heard countless similar stories from friends of getting the feeling they shouldn't be doing something, ignoring it and getting hurt. It can be a hard lesson to learn though.
 
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Even better than a face shield for people like me who are on the "petite" side for bone structure  are face masks with integral over the ear hearing protectors. Most in the ear protectors fall out because my ear canals are too small for them to fit in properly, but trying to wear a face shield plus ear muffs ends up with both falling off.

I've started wearing the fabric masks I made for covid as dust masks - they may not do as good a job of dust control, but at least the fit me and don't keep sliding up and getting in my eyes! Life is sometimes about compromise!

Another important safety measure for me was to splurge and buy hearing protectors that live with specific machines. I even used nail polish to label a pair "lawn" for the lawn mower! Nail polish is great because I can get "hand-me-downs" and it has a nice little paint brush included in the packaging!  
 
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Oh, I like everyone's suggestions.

Mine may not apply to everyone.

Always let people know where you will be at all times.

We have 40 acres with lots of trees.  We could go within a 2-acre range and not be able to see the other person.

Dear hubby usually takes me with him in case of an accident though sometimes he just takes off and may tell me where he is going or may not.

2 acres or 40 acres is a lot to try to cover to go looking for someone.

The Sheriff Department was out here in my area a few years ago looking all day for a little girl who didn't tell her parents and wandered off.
 
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For decades I have worked solo or with my wife.  I now hire someone  for 4 hours a day, 2 days a month for jobs that might involve heavy lifting or other risks.  
 
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Agreed!

What do you need to operate a homestead?
- Sight
- Hearing
- Lungs
- Hands
- Feet
- Back

If you fail to protect those essential things, it may become increasingly difficult/impossible to live in the country.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Anne Miller wrote:Always let people know where you will be at all times.

We have 40 acres with lots of trees.  We could go within a 2-acre range and not be able to see the other person.



Along this line, note that a charged cell phone that is not hooked up with a service can still dial 911 if it can reach a tower. As I understand it, this is required by law in the US and Canada. This could be a lifeline at essentially no cost.
 
Anne Miller
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:if it can reach a tower. As I understand it, this is required by law in the US and Canada. This could be a lifeline at essentially no cost.



If it can reach a tower

We have have no cell cover so we bought walkie-talkies which work great. They work great only if you have them with you and another person listening for your call.
 
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i am a solo operation so this one resonates with me bigtime - i simply can't get hurt.. i am very careful,, here are some tips.. i am TOTALLY gonna come off like nurse ninny - don't care, like my fingers LOL!

  • eye protection with power tools - covered by scott - face shield just added to shopping list..
  • gloves, gloves gloves! all kinds, everywhere and heavy-duty gauntlets when clearing and dealing with rocks logs etc. be sure to wear them when weeding
  • bigger jobs over 2 days - day one... measure, cut, stack, lay out... day 2 job - this way you don't rush
  • put away your tools as soon as you are done - you won't trip over them later or injure yourself trying to gather them all up when it is late
  • concrete block behind the legs at the bottom of a leaning ladder
  • more trips as opposed to lifting as much as you can
  • reorg your tools etc. in "line of sight" and "near the most likely workspace" groupings so stuff is handy and you don't rush around trying to gather things - a MAJOR source of injury
  • ask yourself honestly if you are up to the task... if the answer is no, postpone.. fatigue injures and even kills
  • fabric tape around slippery handles especially on cutting implements
  • if you live in a winter area, have a pair of boots handy  fitted with major metal crampons ready and use them - ice == falls
  • keep pathways clear, take that extra 2 minutes
  • put one thing down before you deal with another... one-handed seldom works out as planned
  • keep cutting implements sharp, replace box cutter blades often... cut away from yourself at all times
  • check breakers twice before you begin electrical work
  • wear snug footgear with good grip for any real jobs... crocs are great but are NOT work gear
  • wash any and all cuts right away - just stop and take care of it... if you are going back to work, put a layer of duct tape over the band-aid - it is the compression and closed wound that promotes healing, the duct tape addition will def keep the wound covered and clean... redress at day's end
  • flashlights handy everywhere you might need them - charged
  • break heavy jobs into 1 hour chunks - break in between - you WILL be done faster anyway
  • don't force anything - take the time to figure out what is really in the way/stuck and address the problem - even if you have to order a new part.. sipped wrenches, glancing blows and snapping tools are the worst
  • plan ahead, write a list of materials and steps to completion of  a major job beforehand - a day or two maybe, then review it - you will be ready and not get rushed and frustrated which leads to mistakes which can lead to injury


  • hope these help - cheers!
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
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    ^^ Excellent comments, James.

    Working solo, one tends to adopt a mindful and methodical mindset.  

    I would add: instead of a flashlight, I find that a lightweight headlamp hanging loosely around the neck, running on low, provides just enough fill lighting to find and do things safely. Rechargeable batteries of course.
     
    James MacKenzie
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    Douglas Alpenstock wrote:^^ Excellent comments, James.

    Working solo, one tends to adopt a mindful and methodical mindset.  

    I would add: instead of a flashlight, I find that a lightweight headlamp hanging loosely around the neck, running on low, provides just enough fill lighting to find and do things safely. Rechargeable batteries of course.



    thank Douglas and very true - only recently have i discovered the benefits of headlamps for working - handsfree is a great alternative in many cases and safer!! i only meant have flashlights handy for when you have to "grab a light" - headlamps are a better working alternative..

    rechargeable all the way LOL!

    cheers!
     
    John F Dean
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    The light issue is an interesting one.  I have 4 rechargeable trouble lights.  I try to use all 4 and flood the area I am working in.  Why 4.  Up to this summer my barn was without electricity.  4 lights allowed me to sit up all night, if needed, with livestock running one light at a time.
     
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