A lot of people I come across in the Scrap Metal industry are missing a finger or toe or even an eye. Why? Because they did not take precautions and did not wear any safety equipment when scrapping. When you are at work it is a normal work requirement to wear and use safety equipment but when you are doing stuff at home you should take the same safety precautions.
Most people who collect scrap do it to make a bit of extra cash and generally do it in their spare time after work or on the weekends. In most cases they are pulling things apart in the garage or backyard and haven’t considered what safety gear they should use and in a lot of cases don’t have the correct tools for the job.
Tools or the correct tools are just as important as wearing safety gear and in many cases will make the job a whole lot easier to do. Worn, broken or incorrect tools can make a job dangerous and harder to carry out if you are not able to afford power tools then at least make sure you use good hand tools.
It is worth investing in tools that can do the job effectively, battery operated hand tools are a great investment as you can quickly remove screws and bolts or grind something with out the hassle of an extension lead.
When ever you are going to pull something apart, be it in the garage or driveway take a minute to consider yours and other peoples safety. Be aware of your neighbours and your own family, think about what will happen if you are using a grinder and someone is close by. May be put up some safety tape or create an exclusion zone to prevent people entering the area you are working in.
Remember that children are not as aware of the safety risks that you may be aware of. Don’t leave tools lying around that children may accidentally pick up and operate. Children are inquisitive and want to copy what you do.
Always wear safety googles and earmuffs when using a grinder. I think this is one of the biggest problems when people are doing some grinding and don’t wear safety glasses. They end up with something in their eye and risk loosing the eye. A lot of people don’t wear ear protection when grinding as they don’t realise that every time they use the grinder with out ear muffs they do damage to their ears.
A good pair of safety gloves is also advisable when handling scrap especially if you are cutting with a grinder as it will normally leave a sharp edge. I have seen quite a few lacerations caused by sharp edges, with many requiring stitches.
A good pair of safety boots is also advisable and should have steel caps to protect your toes in case anything heavy falls on your feet.
Never try to pull apart batteries as these contain both acid and lead and should be left to the experts. You should always wear safety gloves and eye protection when handling lead acid batteries.
If removing the insulation from electrical cable do not burn it off as this can cause toxic fumes and is bad for both you and the environment.
Remember when working with scrap metal always wear the appropriate safety equipment.