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.
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.
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!