The Essential Five: Going Back to Trade School

From welding and carpentry to plumbing and electrical work, trade schools, apprenticeship programs and union training centres provide hands-on learning experiences that are unparalleled in other educational settings.

However, for your students to fully engage in the practical activities and ensure their safety during the process, certain items are essential. Let’s dive into the five must-haves your students need.

  1. Safety Gloves

In almost any trade school program, hands are a student’s most valuable asset. Gloves are essential in protecting them from chemical burns, cuts, and abrasions. It’s crucial to select the right type of gloves that are suited for a specific trade.

  • Welders: Heavy-duty leather gloves that resist heat and sparks.
  • Carpenters: Cut-resistant gloves to protect from splinters and cuts.
  • Electricians: Insulated gloves to guard against electrical shocks.

Make sure the gloves fit well, as ill-fitting gloves can make handling tools somewhat dangerous. For more recommendations and expert tips, check out our Safety Glove Guides.

  1. Safety Boots

A good pair of safety boots is indispensable when it comes to protecting feet from falling objects, slips, or punctures. It’s important to consider the environment and type of work being done when choosing safety boots:

  • Steel-Toed: They offer the best protection against falling objects.
  • Slip Resistance: Especially working in a wet or oily environment.
  • Durable Sole: In electrical work, for instance, non-conductive soles are a must.
  1. Safety Glasses

Eye protection is a non-negotiable aspect of safety in any trade school. Safety glasses are specifically designed to protect eyes from dust, debris, splinters, and chemicals. Students should consider these three aspects when choosing their own pair:

  • Anti-Fog and Anti-Scratch: These coatings offer better visibility.
  • Wraparound Styles: They offer protection from side impacts.
  • UV Protection: Important for doing any outdoor work.
  1. N95 Masks

In settings like woodworking or painting, N95 masks filter out airborne particles, protecting lungs from potential hazards like sawdust or fumes. An N95 mask provides a higher level of protection compared to regular face masks.

  • Fit Test: Make sure masks fit snugly for maximum protection.
  • Check for Valves: Some N95 masks come with exhalation valves for easier breathing.

Reference our Disposable Mask Protection Efficiency Guide to ensure your students are not only wearing the right mask for the job, but also wearing it correctly.

  1. Ear Protection

Trade school environments can be loud. The machinery, power tools, and the activity of peers can contribute to a high level of noise, which can have long-term effects on the hearing of students. Earplugs or earmuffs provide a simple solution, so it’s important to consider:

  • Decibel Rating: Choose protection that’s appropriate for the noise level they’ll be exposed to.
  • Comfort: If it’s uncomfortable, they’re less likely to wear it—so make sure they fit well.

Check out our Hearing Protection Guide to get expert advice and answers to the most-asked questions related to hearing protection and safety equipment.

As you prepare to welcome back your students, prioritizing their safety is essential. Gloves, safety boots, safety glasses, N95 masks, and ear protection are the five foundational items that will reduce their risk of injury while helping them focus on learning their trade. Investing in high-quality safety gear is not just a requirement but a long-term investment in your students’ future career within the trades.

Still want more expert advice from industry professionals? Download the Bunzl Safety Did You Know Guide.


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