Safety unit makes visit to Picayune

Published 11:28 pm Saturday, June 24, 2006

Safety around the home is as important as ever, especially since most residents perform their own home repairs and yard work.

To help promote safety around the home the Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA) Safety Works is touring the country spreading the word of safety.

About eight million accidents occur around the home each year, said Safety Works member Eric Baumgartle. MSA Safety Works, the consumer branch of the company, travels the country to promote use of such items as safety glasses and ear plugs while offering free advice to people in their yards doing work or construction, Baumgartle said. Even though their intentions are good some people are cautious of the MSA Safety Works tour, Baumgartle said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“A lot of people don’t know how to handle it, they think they are being hit with some scam or something,” Baumgartle said.

Usually once people understand the purpose of the visit from MSA representatives they are appreciative.

“They’re doing a good thing, they are trying to help people be aware,” said Picayune resident Danny Arcement.

Arcement was outside doing some light work in his yard when Baumgartle and fellow MSA Safety Works representative Katie McLaughlin pulled up to hand out a free pair of safety glasses and earplugs.

“I’m just trying to do a quick job and get out of the sun as fast as I can,” Arcement said.

Most people have been receptive to the products and advice the Safety Works representatives have offered during their trip, McLaughlin said.

The reason behind the ear plugs is to protect the stereocillia, or the small hairs in human ears, from the 90 decibels of noise that emanates from lawn mowers, which is enough to damage hearing, Baumgartle said. The earplugs lower noise levels by up to 29 decibels, Baumgartle said.

The work was not limited to touring neighborhoods. MSA Safety Works also set up a display outside of Home Depot in Picayune, complete with their modified Volkswagen Beetle. The vehicle is equipped with original paint job and hard hat shaped roof.

Safety glasses are demonstrated outside the Home Depots and True Value Hardwares across the nation, which sell MSA’s products, with the use of a pellet gun set up, Baumgartle said. A demonstration was conducted in front of Home Depot in Picayune to incoming customers. The gun is mounted in a Plexiglas case with a regular pair of sunglasses behind the barrel. The gun is then primed and shot at the glasses, usually breaking the lens or popping it out of the frame. Then a pair of safety glasses go through the same process, which survive the process with only minor scratches to the lens.

MSA not only makes products for consumers, they also have a comprehensive line of products that emergency agencies, the military and construction companies use, Baumgartle said.

The trip to Picayune was not planned, Baumgartle said. Rather it was a detour to avoid the National Guard occupied city of New Orleans, Baumgartle said. The National Guard was called in after a string of violent outbreaks, according to news reports. The tour began in Pittsburgh Penn., and will have the Safety Works team visit Baton Rouge, Houston and Dallas to name a few, Baumgartle said.