Glass Blowers Safety

Most people who choose glass blowing for a career are passionate in the art. But you need to always remember safety should be the craftsman’s primary concern. A glass blower is dealing with temperatures well over 2000 degrees, exploding glass, super hot heavy metal tools, UV rays, unseen damaging chemicals, and glass shards on a daily basis. Along with these types of risks there are safety precautions that are built into a glass blowers training to insure success and health.

Chemical risks:

Silicon, lead oxide, heavy metals, cadmium are only some of the chemicals a glass blower can come in contact with working with heating, cooling, coloring the glass, and even clean up. Wearing a respirator can help with safety in this area.

Eye Risks:

Protective eyewear works two-fold protecting your eyes from glass shards and UV rays. A full face shield is preferred as it protects your entire face and does a good job of holding off the heat.

Clothing details:

Absolutely no synthetics, take off jewelry, belt buckles, and watches as the metal can either heat up and cause burns or it can melt and stick to your skin. Cotton or wool is suggested for clothing, also long sleeves and pants to protect arms and legs from glass shards and burns. Safety clothes include; heat resistant smock/apron, closed toe work boots, gloves, and protective eye wear.

Heat:

It is important to always stay hydrated. Heat can affect the workings of your body. Know the signs of heat stroke and exhaustion. Staying hydrated with water and sports drinks make a big difference. Eat salty food to replenish the nutrients lost during perspiration.

Burns:

Metal has a habit of absorbing heat and maintaining high temperatures for long periods of time. Always wear protective gloves when handling metal. Understand and know how to treat burn types from first degree (less serious) to third degree (most serious).

Cuts:

Heated metal can cut through skin like butter and because of the cauterizing effects you might not even feel the cut right away. Cold glass can have sharp edges which will cut your skin easily. Be careful because un-annealed glass can explode.

Tips:

* Always be prepared for a medical emergency, keep a first aid kit nearby and know how to use it.

* Remember everything is hot. You are working in a virtual oven, even items farthest from the oven can be hot.

* Do not relax in the use of safety equipment. So many people in trades cut corners to save time and use of safety equipment is often one of the first things cut.

* Awareness: Know what is happening at all times around you and stay focused on your task. This is not the place to be preoccupied. If you are not at 100 percent good advice would be to not work.

* Have proper training. Train with the best if possible. You are dealing with extremes and being properly trained can help to keep you safe and learn the important tricks of the trade.

This seems like a lot to think about on a daily basis but most glass blowers use these safety techniques out of habit. During training they were taught these safety techniques and have carried the tips with them throughout their career. Being safe and a successful glass blower go hand and hand.