Glass Blowing Safety

Introduction

Glass blowers transform glass into useful scientific glassware and art pieces using a very high-temperature furnace. For this reason, glass blowers expose themselves to burns or even server cuts that may result in severe injuries. Glass Blowing Safety can however be enhanced by not only keeping the work area clean but also keeping the workplace free of excess materials. If several people are working in the same workshop, each and every member can reduce accidents a great deal by staying centered at their glassblowing bench and constantly keep in mind all activities in their immediate area. Inspection of the work area should also be done frequently, especially the gas supply system, to ensure that they are in safe working conditions.

Hazards associated with Glass Blowing and ways of reducing

Respiratory hazards

This hazard emanate from the materials used to fabricate the glass. This could be the inhaled irritating particulates or fumes. When dirty glass is heated, harmful fumes are generated. When such fumes are accidently inhaled, they present respiratory track problems. An asbestos tape is equally harmful when inhaled, just like some chemical used to give glass its beautiful color. A glass blower’s canopy hood may trap heat and some gasses, but it does not eliminate all harmful fumes.

The best way a glass blower can minimize such risks is to use a ventilation system designed in such a way that it blows air through glass blowing area and straight out of the room. Additionally, a glass blower should ventilate the work place sufficiently with at least a window at each end in addition to fitting exhaust fans to suck out air loaded with harmful fumes. Wearing a respirator further increase Glass Blowing Safety as it offers protection against toxic particulates that are stirred up every time the working area is being cleaned.

Heat

Hard glass, also known as borosilicate glass, is designed to withstand intense heat, and it is for this reason that they are used for cooking. Its melting point is approximately 1000 degree Celsius, and hence for such temperatures to be attained under normal circumstances, heavy duty equipment is necessary. Even with the best equipment possible, operating at such very high temperatures is a hazard that can occasion horrific burns and serious injuries, unless proper safety procedures are adhered to at all times. The glass blower should exercise extreme caution and use the right protective gear at all times to protect themselves against equipment surface temperatures, which will obviously be several hundred degrees.

Cuts

Glass cuts represent a serious occupational risk for glass blowers. Before heating so that they can be shaped, lass exhibit sharp edges which if not handled with care can easily cut a body part. A glass blower should, therefore, protect himself or herself at all times by wearing strong leather gloves, or better still, long embroidered welder’s gloves. The gloves should also be replaced from time to time as they gradually harden when exposed to heat. Gloves made with dense materials such as Kevlar greatly reduce the risk of a glass cut penetrating through right to the hands. Gloves having rubber dots are even more effective since they enable the glass blower to clasp glass more securely.

Dirt and tiny broken pieces

Glass blowing area should be cleaned and tidied as often as possible. Brocken glass and dirt, often in the form of left over pieces must not be disposed of carelessly in the normal trash since sharp tiny glass pieces have the potential of causing serious injury to the waste handler. There are policies on dealing with such “sharp”, and all glass blowers must adhere to these policies-special sharps containers should only be used. The policies further cautions against disposing off regular trash into sharp containers.

Ergonomic Hazards

Glass blowing needs high degree of precision, implying that a glass blower is likely to experience physical stress when working in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time. An incorrectly positioned chair or work table can cause repetitive injuries, while standing for extended periods of time can occasion circulatory problems. Adjusting the height of the working table or chair can reduce these problems.  A great way to help if you’re already hurting is to go to Physical Therapy Bristow VA A glass blower is also advised to replace poor lighting as this may cause eye strain thereby distorting the glass color.

In conclusion, a glass blower can benefit immensely by having a glass insurance program, which was specifically built from start to finish with glass blower in mind, in place. By observing the above safety measures, however, Glass Blowing Safety can be increased a great deal.