Safely Using Cold Working Equipment
Click here for a list of
basic cold working equipment.
possible to cold work with manual tools such as diamond hand pads,
most cold working involves power machinery. In order to use power
equipment safely, it's critical that you know and follow appropriate
safety procedures. Procedures differ from machine to machine,
but there are a number of items that are important regardless of the
First, realize that
cold working almost always creates glass dust. You are working
with a material that has been shown to cause silicosis, a very
serious lung disease. Water can help keep silica particles from
becoming airborne, but it's not guaranteed to keep them out of your
lungs. Wearing a respirator isn't just good advice, in the long run
it could save your life.
Your lungs aren't all that you should protect. Most cold
working equipment throws up glass shards and small pieces of glass.
Wear safety glasses or use a face shield. Wear the appropriate
clothing (such as long sleeve shirts or gloves) to protect you from
getting cut. And clean your work area frequently to minimize the
chance of cutting yourself on a stray sliver of glass.
Most cold working
equipment makes LOTS of noise. As glass artists, we often neglect
hearing protection (even though it's one of the most common problems
we can experience). If you're going to spend a lot of time at
the grinder or saw, it's a good idea to wear hearing protection.
And if at all possible spread your exposure out over several periods
of work, rather than trying to do it all in a single marathon
In the final analysis, it's important that you not be afraid of
power tools. But you should always respect the tools you use.
Know the appropriate safety procedures for each machine, and follow
them. That way you'll live to work another day.
Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.
All rights reserved.
Special thanks to Phil Hoppes
for this tip.