Playing Safe in The Studio

You have only one body so don’t let something that you love doing cause it harm. Protect and cherish it! Most studio safety issues really aren’t from an accident with a tool, rather they are little things that accumulate over time that involve your eyes, ears, skin, breathing and muscles.

As an artist your eyes are one of the most valuable assets you have. They need to be protected from injury and strain. Safety glasses are easy to have around and they are comfortable to wear. A magnifying headpiece such as an Optivisor will act as both a shield and help protect against eye strain. Lighting is a safety feature that is often overlooked. A good bench lamp will allow you to see and work on your projects without strain.

Your poor ears, so often overlooked safety wise and so very important! The long term whine of your flex shaft or polisher, the ringing of metal as you create your next beautiful piece, even loud music as you work. The effects don’t show up right away but they definitely build up over time. Earplugs, earmuffs with foam or for very loud projects both, will keep them safe and let you hear all the ohhs and ahhs over your work.

Keeping your skin safe is easier. The best way? Be mindful with what you are doing. That graver slip can hurt! Using Finger Pro safety tape helps you get a secure grip on items without being as restrictive or sometimes as dangerous as gloves. A good flame retardant apron is a good item to have; it helps protect you and your clothes. Keep your studio at a comfortable temperature, to hot and you sweat. Sweating increases the blood flow on your skins surface and may increase the absorption of chemicals into your body. Washing your face, arms and hands after working will also remove chemicals, dust and other items that can cause problems.

Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation, the very best way to protect your lungs from the dust and fumes in your studio. Keep in mind, some heating and cooling systems recirculate the air over and over. An exhaust fan is a great help. You can protect further with a good particulate respirator, one with a N95 classification. The N95 means 95% of particulates are removed. Dusting your shop often then washing the cloth and work clothes separately from your other clothing will also help.

Our bodies really weren’t made to sit for long periods of time. So, every hour or so get up, walk around, stretch out, you will help your back and your concentration. Make sure your chair is the right height for where you are working. Some items in the studio are heavy so make sure you use correct lifting techniques. Get help to move that 100lbs of Kerr investment!

A couple of quick general safety tips: If you have long hair keep it pulled back. Make sure your electrical system isn’t overloaded. Keep your work area tidy with items stored safely. With safety, there is no excuse not to take proper precautions. Protection is inexpensive and easy to get… please use it, we do care!

-Leah Alden Jaswal

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