A cheap lesson safety goggles

Mark (AKA Bunny despite now being 6 foot two) does manual labor at Hershey Park. It's usually hose crew for which the prescribed safety gear is close-toed shoes. Sneakers qualify. Sandals do not.

Bunny also works Sweet Lights.

This is the huge holiday light display Hershey puts on in the fields north of the park every year. It's several million Christmas lights laced over several hundred metal frames ranging from four feet by four feet or so to mammoth. All the frames have to be held up with guy wires and other support structures. It takes the large crew six to eight weeks minimum to install all the frames and light them up. Electricians are involved as are welders and heavy equipment to move the frames into place.

Sweet Lights is quite a light show extravaganza.

Breakdown is much faster; about two weeks. So there's Mark working away one sunny day a few weeks ago. He came home a bit late and told me that he had had an exciting day at Sweet Lights.

Did one of the huge frameworks nearly land on him as had happened during the fall setup?

No, an errant guy wire came loose and hit him in the left eye.

A Hershey security guard took him to the local MedExpress office. He got seen, got diagnosed, got a prescription for antibiotics, and went back to work. When he finished at work, he got his prescription at the CVS and came home and told me about it.


Where were your safety goggles? In the backpack, mom. They fog up.

Mark was incredibly lucky. He got a big bloody bruise in his sclera and seems to have suffered no other damages. It's healing up nicely. He put antibiotics into his eye regularly just like the doctor ordered.

If the guy wire had gone 1/4 inch deeper, we're talking emergency eye surgery. Deeper than that and it becomes an even bigger problem, leading to blindness or disability. Guy wires penetrating into the brain, you know.

Mark got a very cheap lesson in the need to wear safety goggles instead of leaving them in his backpack.

It's a reminder that the universe does not care and accidents happen. As we all move into a more uncertain future, we need to remember that safety equipment (like hardhats, safety goggles, harnesses, and steel-toed workboots) exist for a reason. They really do keep the wearer safer but only if they're used.

So wear your safety goggles!
And how do you keep your safety goggles from steaming up?

ClareBroommaker's picture

Scary! Glad it went no deeper.

The description in Jared Diamond's "The World Until Yesterday" of how careful are traditionally living people of the Amazon and New Guinea really impressed my husband-- well for a while anyway. I had hoped he would be inspired to do things like wear hats, gloves, protective shirts and pants while working in the garden. My husband gets all sunburned, gouged, scratched, splintered, and bug-bitten. One of these days he will get a bad infection from one of those injuries. When you don't have access to antibiotics or minor surgery those little blood-drawing accidents are all the more to be avoided.

All true. Make sure your husband keeps his tetanus shots up to date. A splinter can be life-threatening, even today with modern hospitals if it's not recognized in time. It's so hard to believe it.

Or a blister. Calvin Coolidge's younger son died of blood poisoning from an infected blister from playing tennis in sneakers but without socks. Being president didn't save his son from dying in agony.

Mark got a very cheap lesson.

lathechuck's picture

One way, is just to wait a few minutes while you're wearing them. Condensation is a sign that water vapor is giving up heat to become liquid water. That heat will warm the lenses of the goggles, if you give it enough time, until they reach equilibrium and the vapor stops condensing.

Now, if he's working so hard that perspiration is dripping onto the lenses, leaving streaks of salt and oil, that's another question. He should wash his glasses when he takes a hydration break!

As for infections, I've treated some with hyperthermia. That is, when I've had an infected fingernail, I soak my fingertip in water heated to be slightly uncomfortable (not scalding, of course) for an hour or so. It may take several sessions, but seems to work. Of course, it's a lot easier to do with a finger or toe than a knee or navel, and I would advise anyone to see a doctor when there's a problem, but if you can't get an appointment right away, apply heat.

David Trammel's picture

One way to do that is to just buy safe products as your normal wear. I wear glasses and my day to day are a pair with shatter proof lenses. My last company paid for them but the price isn't that much higher anymore. If you wear glasses you can usually get them in a stylish set of frames too.

My box store sneakers crapped out after a year, while my leather set of steel toed Red Wings lasted nearly ten. That's what the salesman said when I went back to get another pair for work. I had a second pair that were low topped that I work day to day in casual settings. They are pretty beat up but I recently got a second pair of the same that I'm going to not use for working in and keep them shined.

Cost wise its no contest. The box store shoes were around $30, the Red Wings $150. Given the difference in lifespan (1 vs 10) its cheaper to go with quality. But then that's usually the case, isn't it?

How do you think Red Wings would do on wet asphalt for hours at a time?

I've mentioned before that Mark works hose crew at Hershey Park. He spends hours dragging hoses across asphalt. His feet and shoes get soaked. He'll typically completely wear out the soles of sneakers (even 'better' ones) within a month. The sneaker upper remains pristine.

He's used Muck boots (soles fell off), boots from Bass Pro Shop (soles fell off) and other shoes and boots as well. In every case, constant wear and tear on wet asphalt made the soles collapse or the uppers tore free from the soles.

He's willing to spend some money on better footwear but not that much more. The damage seems to come from the combination of hours of abrasion plus being soaking wet.