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In Praise of Safety Gear

Back in the '60s, due to the influence of my friend Paul Wingate, I started wearing earphones any time I used electric motors, especially saws. But through the years, I haven't been all that conscientious about safety equipment. Two recent incidents changed my attitude: first, a log rolling down a steep hill cracked a rib and banged my head on the ground. Second, I fell skateboarding in San Francisco a few months ago and hit, um, my head on the pavement.
   I bought a loggers helmet to use when chainsawing; it has earphones and a metal mesh face screen. Today when I was chain sawing firewood, a chunk flew back and hit the helmet, saving me an indeterminate injury. Skateboarding in San Francisco at night a few weeks ago, I had on all my safety gear and when I hit  a deep crack in the pavement, my board went backwards and me forward and I skidded along the pavement on my hands and knees, protected by respectively, gloves with hockey pucks for palms, and sturdy knee guards -- no skin lost.
   A 3rd thing I'm doing is using MacSpeech Dictate (Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows) more frequently all the time to cut down on wrist tension from computer work. Two years ago, I had carpal tunnel surgery. The physician, Dr. Robert Markison, is a remarkable man in many ways (write me if you have wrist numbness etc. and want details on Markison); he recommended the software and it's surprisingly good . I also switched my mouse to the left side and have taught myself how to use it. All of which is cutting way down on computer-generated tension/stress on hands and wrists. (Fits safety equipment category in the sense that it prevents injuries.)
  I'm getting more conservative. I figure I've been lucky for all these years and injuries at my age are no joke.


Anonymous said...

LLoyd, I am a 42 year old carpenter working for himself. When I first started in the trades (9 years ago) I was ridiculed for wanting saftey gear. Kneepads, earplugs, glasses, face shield, guards on saws. Now that I am on my own I keep all these things in my truck, and they are on every job. I would rather look silly wearing this stuff than lose an eye, my hearing, or a finger. You arent getting conservative, you are just smart, in my opinion

Miguel Marcos said...

Lloyd, what's your experience with MacSpeech Dictate? How long did it take to get it to usable?

Island Woman MJ said...

Glad to see this post. After a number of my own injuries, being aware and being careful (let's include sun protection on the safety list) is, as the comment above says, just being smart! At a certain age, we learn we don't heal as fast; if we heal completely at all. So listen up, you yutes! Earlier smarts be bettah!

Lloyd Kahn said...

Started working right away. Got better the more I used it.

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