By Dusty Henry, Sevan Locks & Doors
When you consider occupational safety, there are a lot of different occupations that may come to mind first for needing protective equipment – construction workers, welders, etc. Being a locksmith can actually be rather hazardous work for your health as well. There is, of course, the inherent danger of dealing with going into a stranger’s home, business, or locked car. But there are even more dangers than this to consider. Protective equipment is a must, as with any occupation using powerful tools to shape and cut materials.
Metal shavings can be produced by many of the different tasks done by a locksmith. This is one of the biggest dangers that a locksmith faces during their schedule. Their small sizes make them likely to be brushed off without thinking. Metal shavings are a small annoyance, but ask anyone that has to deal with them, and they’ll tell you that they can be painful if you get them in your eye, under your nails, or embedded in your skin. Speed is an important factor in getting any job done, and this can cause metal shavings to fly. Protective gear like gloves or eyewear can be a good investment that keeps these pesky shavings at bay while still being able to work efficiently.
Just like metal shavings, splinters are another hazard that doesn’t seem like a very big deal until you get one stuck under your skin. Locksmiths that are installing new locks and equipment in buildings will potentially come into contact with cut wood. This means that splinters will be a likely possibility.
The metal shavings that locksmiths come into contact with may have an added detriment – lead. Brass keys that are machined to fit into client’s locks often contain 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent lead. This small amount of lead can have some serious health consequences when locksmiths come into contact with it. Some may scoff that this small amount is nothing to be concerned about, but participants in a research study found that they had elevated levels of lead in their system and they urged for further investigation on this issue.
Lead at high enough levels can result in death, and medical professionals note that even small amounts can be bad for a person's health. There’s a lot of attention given to the symptoms that can happen to infants and children from lead exposure, but this can also have negative health consequences to adults as well. There are some symptoms that can occur to adults from exposure to lead, such as reproductive health issues, high blood pressure, pain in your muscles and joints, mood disorders, headaches, and memory issues.
Equipment Must Haves
For locksmiths, there are three areas of protective equipment that should be addressed if it’s not already: eye protection, hand protection, and skin protection. Eye protection through safety glasses is necessary to protect eyes from any flying debris that comes from cutting and drilling through materials or machining keys. There are a variety of glasses available that have the options that will work best for the particular tasks at hand.
Hand protection through gloves will help to protect the sensitive skin of your hands and the nail beds. A good choice here is cut resistant gloves that fit the hand closely allowing for an easy freedom of movement for handling any task.
The final aspect is protective clothing. This is probably the easiest to convince anyone to wear since they’ll be wearing shirts and pants anyway. This clothing is useful because it can give that extra protection to sensitive areas of the body. In addition, you can find reinforced elbows and knees that can help make this clothing last, compared to clothing that isn’t reinforced. In an occupation that can result in a lot of arm movements and kneeling, this can truly come in handy. This is especially true in the case where you’ll be kneeling right where the metal shavings and splinters are located.
The safety and security of a locksmith are more than just ensuring that they have personal safety in their surroundings. There are innate dangers that exist in this line of business that may be overlooked by some, but the best way to handle these issues is by getting the proper protective gear necessary for the job. The safety glasses, protective gloves, and protective clothing can be beneficial in providing you and your locksmiths a better working condition.
Sevan Locks & Doors is an award-winning locksmith and garage door company based out of Seattle, Wash. They offer fast response times, reasonable rates, and crucial security services for homes and businesses.