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.

David Trammel's picture

I'm not sure Teresa, but the store is down the street, I'll stop in today and ask.

In wet conditions like that, its a difficult job for a boot. You get exterior soaking but also water can get down thru the top and make things wet inside. Is it just the deterioration of the boot or is he having problems with the wet/cold conditions as well?

No, the boot or shoe deterioration seems to be the soaking combined with the asphalt.

He dresses for the weather with heavy wool socks, longjohns, etc. Hershey Park provides pants, shirts, jackets, ball caps, etc. as part of the deal. The uniforms (in colors so anyone on staff knows INSTANTLY if you belong or not) are very hard-wearing so no issues there.

It's just the footwear.

Every part of Hershey Park where the guests go is paved like a parking lot. There are hundreds of acres, up and down hills (the grade changes constantly) and he and the rest of hose crew probably walk five miles every morning dragging those hoses around.

It's a big job!

Everyone has problems with footwear. Some of the crew give up and buy cheap sneakers they replace monthly. Mark likes more foot protection but he may end up with cheap sneakers too. By the time he gets back from Delaware, it will have warmed up more.

I appreciate you checking for me.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Teresa, I was reminded of your query about durable boots for wet surfaces as I waded the normally dry creekbed to reach my mailbox. See photo below. I have friends in the part of Alaska which seems to be raining almost all of the time that it is not snowing instead. The standard boot up there is the Xtratuf legacy series in 15" height. I own a pair myself which I pulled on today for the trip to the mailbox. I rate them highly on slip resistance and waterproofness. Xtratuf makes quite an assortment of styles some of which are widely used on commercial fishing boats in Alaska which is a slippery occupation.

add photo: 

Thanks for the recommendation on boots for Mark.

He expects to come home mid-April so he'll get an entire summer out of these boots and into the fall.
If they hold up well, he'll use them for Sweet Lights too.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Teresa, if you explored my second link you may have already discovered that there is a 12" tall version of what is in my first link for $15 less. It is otherwise the identical boot AFAIK. It doesn't sound from your earlier posts that Mark is dealing with water of any depth. The shorter version may be marginally more comfortable in hot weather. I have been weighing whether to go to the 12" version once my 15" Xtratuf Legacies wear out. For me the difference between the 15" and 12" versions is foregoing getting the mail perhaps 1-2 days a year. It does sound that Mark is deserving of a good set of boots having stepped up to the eldercare responsibility as he has.

David Trammel's picture


There's a FB ad on them, came up on my feed. Someone said theirs had come apart and the rep offered their email and said contact them. You could fire them off one yourself and see if maybe they'd suggest something, even get a demo pair to try.

support @ xero shoes . com

Not sure if all of them are designed as sockless. Or their price.

ADDED: I posted a comment directly to them about your situation, let's see what their reply is.

ADDED 2: Their response: "Hey David! Our shoes are designed with high quality, durable materials and are made to last. I encourage you to check out our product pages to learn more about our shoe design. Our shoes also have a 2 yr manufacturer's warranty as well as a 5,000 mile sole warranty."

thanks for going the extra mile.

I'll let Mark know when he comes home from Delaware.

The real issue is not being soaked. It's the miles walked every day on asphalt. The soles of every pair of boots or sneakers he's tried disintegrated long before the uppers failed. Pristine uppers, ruined soles.

lathechuck's picture

I found that the soles of my Redwing work boots (leather upper, over the ankle) were cracking before they wore through, but I took them to a local shoe repair guy and got new soles. I think I paid about $75 for the job. I don't remember how long I've had the boots (maybe ten years?), but I'm NOT on my feet, on asphalt, all day, either.