Whether you are an experienced or new stained glass crafter or artisan, it is important to think about safety in your stained glass workshop or studio. There are the obvious hazards of working around glass, but tools and chemicals can also be hazardous. Check out the list we’ve compiled for you below from Emeditems.com.
When you go to your stained glass supplier, do not bring small children. There is too big of a risk of being cut by glass and being exposed to toxic fumes, dust and lead. Most stained glass warehouses post signs requesting that small children do not go into areas where the stained glass is stored. Your local retail stained glass dealer would appreciate not having the stress of having a “bull in a China shop.”
When carrying sheets of stained glass, wear gloves that help you have a good grip on the glass. The gloves should protect your hands from cuts from the razor sharp edges of the stained glass. Grip the glass on each side. Carrying it with one hand on top and one on bottom creates a hazard that the glass could snap in two. If you grip from each side and the sheet of stained glass breaks, you have a better chance of letting the glass slip away from you without being cut.
When scoring and breaking stained glass at your workbench, wear protective eyewear and gloves. Be careful not to use your hand to swipe glass shards out of your way. Keep a bench brush and dust pan handy so that you can frequently brush off your workbench. This will reduce accidents and also keep a smooth surface to work on. The tiniest glass shard under a piece of stained glass that you are scoring can cause the piece you are working on to have an unwanted break.
Never use a glass grinder without protecting your eyes. Glass particles can fly up into your eyes and cause terrible pain and may permanently damage your eyes. Most glass grinders are equipped with face shields or face shields can be purchased separately.
While grinding your stained glass, wear goggles that shield your eyes from all sides to prevent glass particles from getting in your eyes from underneath since the grinder is below eye level. It would also be a good idea to wear a paper mask to prevent breathing in the glass particles and dust that could be harmful to your sinuses and lungs.
When leading the stained glass pieces, wear gloves to protect you from exposure to lead poisoning. If you have cuts on your hands, cover them with band-aids. Pay careful attention to your hot soldering iron. Don’t look away and reach for your iron. You might grasp the wrong end of the iron . . . the end that is several hundred degrees hot!
Make sure that your area is well ventilated when you are soldering. Fumes from solder and flux contain harmful lead and acid. Solder scraps should be kept in a special container for taking to a recycler.
Sometimes new stained glass crafters don’t have a workshop and think they can begin by working at their kitchen table or counter. That is a definite risk of exposing you and your family to lead poisoning, chemical contamination, and hazards from the shards of stained glass. It would be better to set up a space in your garage or an unused room. Some stained glass shops will allow you to rent bench time.
Common sense and a clean stained glass workshop will help keep you safe and add to your enjoyment of the art of stained glass. Check out Emeditems.