Torched Art Safety Tips by Christina Nixon Cole
Health and safety is a big concern in the glass industry. It is very important to know and learn all precautions to avoid injury. By using your common sense, pacing yourself and staying alert, injury is highly reduced. I don’t want to scare you off, but it is necessary to educate you in all areas of lampworking. You will be working with glass that is 2,000 degrees hot. But is well worth it and super fun!!!
Hair: Tie back long hair and avoid flammable hair products such as hair spray.
Nails and Accessories: Nails should be within reasonable working length. Synthetic nails have a higher chance of burning.
Remove all accessories such as rings, bracelets etc. If hot glass should land on you, the jewelry can trap it and possibly conduct the heat.
Clothing: Wear natural fibers such as cotton clothes and closed toe leather shoes. Avoid wearing clothing with large pockets and cuffs or anything that can catch on equipment or dangle in the flame. This includes necklaces and hair. Cover your lap with an apron, long shorts or pants. Use a leather glove to load the kiln. Put on your "play clothes".
Eye Protection: Didymium lenses are obsolete, AUR 92 or ACE 202 and other special glasses filter out infrared, ultraviolet light, and sodium flare, the bright yellow light. Use boro glasses for hotter glass. Reading glasses can be worn under the glasses and there are clip-ons available. Table mounted shields are nice too. Always use eye protection when cold working. Buy the best eye protection you can afford.
Torch: The torch must be screwed or clamped to a sturdy table, never reach across the open flame, keep children and pets away from torch and hot glass. When not in use, turn off the torch. Remember that the tip is still hot for several minutes after turned off.
Lighting and turning off the torch: POOP = propane-oxygen, oxygen-propane
Red=Fire=Propane / Green=Go=Oxygen
Hoses: Connect to regulators and torch securely (no air leakage). Check leaks with soapy suds from a water bottle. Keep the hoses off the ground to avoid tripping and exposure to possible hot glass. Relieve the pressure from the hoses when done using the torch at the end of the day.
Tanks: Secure to a wall unable to fall or roll around. Place caps on and secure while traveling. Do not let propane tank fall over, the valve will leak. Never use oil to lubricate. Do not leave tanks inside hot space or car. Propane MUST always be stored outside. Natural gas is cleaner, cheaper and safer.
Kiln: It is very hot inside and can be hot outside too. Use a leather glove to set items into kiln. Don't leave the door open for more than a few seconds. Avoid touching your hot glass to anything else in the kiln as it may stick to something or dent your work. Wait for the kiln to be cool enough to the touch before opening the door and or taking the glass out.
Ventilation: Lampworking can produce many things to be aware of; gasses, vapors, fumes, flare off, mists, dusts, carbon monoxide. A ventilation system, respirator, home carbon monoxide and smoke detector, fire extinguisher are mandatory. For temporary use, have a cross breeze with a powerful fan and two open windows at minimum. Install proper ventilation for a more permanent set up. Silicosis is a dangerous disease of the lungs caused by inhalation of tiny sharp edged particles that can’t leave the lungs. Remove, Replace, Circulate. Caution if pregnant.
Burns: Be conscious where the flame is, place hot glass and tool ends away from your body, elevate ends to avoid burning the table or other objects. Run a burn under mild cold water until warmth is gone. Apply medication and bandage. Never use ice or butter, it will re-burn the burn. Never put glass in your mouth. Always have first aid kit and fire extinguisher available. Tell your instructor about your injury and let instructor help. You can use: lavender oil, aloevera, Tofu, Burn Medicine, Biogauze, Silvadine, Ching Wan Hung, homeopathic Calendula Gel, etc.
Cuts & Slivers: Avoid sharp ends of the glass rods, keep work area clean, sweep floor to avoid tracking into other areas of the work place or home. Never use your bare hands to sweep. Never walk with bare feet in area where glass can land. Be sure to get glass sliver out ASAP, don’t let it heal over. Black Salve aka drawing salve can help get it out.
Sunburn: The torch flame produces a very intense source for UV light. Be sure to use sun screen, you don't want a "raccoon" face.
Dehydration: Drink plenty of water. The flame surprisingly dehydrates you and your skin. Avoid coffee, sodas etc. as they are dehydrators.
Stretch: It is helpful to stretch and warm your body up to keep alert and to avoid cramping in the back, neck and shoulders. The nerves in the neck lead directly to the hands, if your hands shake, stretch your neck.
Sober: Never work under the influence of any drugs or alcohol…especially in my class. If I have any reason to believe that you are under the influence, I reserve the right to dismiss you from using the torch or being in the class room without refund.
Work Area: Keep your work area free of flammables such as papers and plastics. Make sure pets, small kids and mindless people are safe from the glass and open flame. Keep first aid kit and fire extinguisher near by. Always have ventilation.
For more safety information: http://www.isgb.org/education/standards.shtml
I have read and understand the material on this page and still wish to continue knowing that there is a possibility of injury. I also understand that these are the basic safety tips and I am aware there is more safety information available to me online or in books. I hereby agree to assume all risks and to fully release and waive all claims against Torched Art, Christina Nixon Cole, and the owner of the real property upon which this glass class is conducted, arising out of, or resulting from any glass class or instruction given by or under the supervision of Christina Nixon Cole or the business owner. PARENT/GUARDIAN SIGNATURE REQUIRED IF UNDER THE AGE OF 18.
Christina Nixon Cole has been lampworking since 1996 and teaching since 2000. Please see her classes page to find a list of fun classes.