Bag Your Safety Gear!

That’s right: Bag your safety gear! No, I don’t mean discard it. A practice I’ve established for myself is using a gear bag for dedicated storage of all my personal safety gear. And nothing else. Keeping everything in a single, protected place means I know where things are when I need them, and nothing gets lost, crushed, scratched, or outright destroyed. Face it; personal safety equipment is vitally important. It deserves its own, dedicated, protective carrier.

I use a large-size Carhartt bag, but any similar bag will work (a traditional mason’s bag would make a nice alternative). The Carhartt bag has a wire mouth that’s capable of staying open if you fold each end of the zipper outward and over the wire (difficult to describe, but easy to do). I also keep my name tag on the bag.

Image of gear bag loaded with personal safety gear.

A large size gear bag can hold quite a bit of your basic personal safety equipment.

In this particular bag, I can fit my collection of core safety items, including a respirator and several pair of cartridges, dust masks, safety glasses, goggles/OTG safety glasses, face shield, hard hat (several items can be stored inside it), hearing protection, several pair of work gloves, knee pads, back belt, flashlight, headlamp, EpiPens (in case any one nearby is at risk for anaphylaxis), CPR shield/gloves, and a medium-sized first aid kit, with some room to spare. Certain other items (like water bottles and construction tape, for example), I’ll store or clip on to the outside.

To accommodate any additional gear specific to a particular trade, or necessitated by conditions at hand (fall prevention/OPE, protection against extreme temperatures, or flame, etc.), the same principle applies: Provide additional gear bags or some other form of dedicated storage or carriers. Much specialized safety gear often comes in its own, dedicated carrying cases.

For some great safety tips, practices, and detailed gear descriptions, visit the Homeowner’s & Trades Resource Center’s new Safety Sunday series of articles.


In “Creating a Safety Program for a Homebuilding Construction Site“, an article published in the December, 2010 issue of the Journal of Light Construction, author, architect, and builder Andrew DiGiammo describes issuing a personal “safety bag” of essential gear to each of his employees, as part of the fine tuning of his job site safety program. It’s always encouraging to see others independently arriving at conclusions similar to your own!

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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7 Responses to Bag Your Safety Gear!

  1. First off, John thanks for the great article, allowing us to use it, and all the back-links you have added – I really do appreciate it. I remember when I first saw this article – I went back and forth from, wow what a great idea to “now why didn’t I think of that?”

    While writing the current Safety Sunday piece, I started contemplating that last question again, and happened to glance up at my racing bike hanging on the wall.

    Click – I just might have a bag for you. Before I moved out here from Arizona (i.e. stopped riding & racing), some companies started coming out with cycling gear bags like those that the pros used in Europe. These bags hold everything from their helmets, to shoes, to water bottles & enough gear for almost any riding conditions, because the last thing you want to do is show up for a race missing a key piece of equipment.

    So how does this apply – (in general) they have two large pockets on the exterior that can easily hold a helmet in one and you’re respirator in another. Those pesky water bottles now have their own exterior pockets & if they leak, you won’t find your first aid kit swimming. Safety glasses go right were the sunglasses do, and seeing most cyclists carry multiple lenses, some of the bags make allowances for that. There are also numerous other pockets to help separate out the gear while still leaving the center area open.

    Now granted some of these bags are huge & some are expensive – there are plenty that are more affordable and sized properly for most homeowners & trades people. One other reason I would suggest someone consider this route, is that by having certain items separated from others, you lessen the chances of damage. For instance, scratching the lenses on your eyewear, getting dirt or debris in your hearing protection, or respirator, etc…

    Thanks again John, for the great article & advice on keeping all your gear safely stored in an easy to find location

    • John Poole says:


      Thanks for the good words, and thanks so much for your suggestion. It’s an excellent refinement of the original idea. The gear bags (or even similar sport bags) I recommended have internal and external pockets, but they are not padded in any way and really don’t protect against breakage. My earlier thought was that any item that really needed to be guarded could either be wrapped in flannel or bubble wrap, or perhaps stored inside a hard hat. But the type of carrier you’re suggesting would do that perfectly, and furthermore, would eliminate the inconvenience of having to deal with packing certain items carefully. Excellent idea. I will do a little searching and pick out a few possible good candidate carriers for bike gear of the type you’ve suggested.


  2. Pingback: Safety Sunday: Bag your gear | The HTRC: Homeowner's & Trades Resource Center

  3. John — I think this article contains a pretty comprehensive list of what you need to outfit yourself for safety (b would love it) and you could have gone in that direction with it. Thanks to Sean for comment and I have to say – lovely oak bench as well. thanks for posting. that’s 100 to 2 (RTs) jb

    • John Poole says:

      Thanks jb! Glad you liked it. Agreed about Sean’s comment. And his Sunday Series installments, several of which I’ve linked back to here, provide invaluable detailed content on specific safety items. ~John

  4. Barry Morgan says:

    Hi John,

    I believe in dedicated bags and boxes for just about everything. You are preaching to the choir here! (And doing it well I might add:-)


    • John Poole says:

      Thanks very much, Barry! Always great to get confirmation and positive feedback. Actually might have a few more forthcoming posts on the topic of dedicated carriers, etc. Thanks again! ~John