Monday, December 1, 2014

How to Avoid Physical Hazards in Studio

There are a number of hazards around the work place and we have to be extremely careful to avoid them. While we’ve included links to authority sources in the article “Safety in the art studio”, I wanted to add something simpler and easily digestible. 

Wearing personal protective equipment /PPE/ is very important. Studios where artists handle hazardous materials should have eyewashes, safety showers, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits close at hand. Know where the personal protection equipment is located and how to use it.

The first step to controlling exposure to hazardous materials is substitution of materials used with safer ones. The second thing is to provide adequate ventilation or limiting the length and / or amount of exposure to dangerous materials. In case this is impossible or the control is no adequate, personal protective equipment has to be worn.

PPE has to be adequate to the work that will be done. The most common type of PPE amongst the artists are gloves and goggles. The gloves have to be worn to protect the hands from a variety of art hazards. The material of the gloves varies depending of the work to be done. For example leather gloves protect from fire sparks, cuts and heat; rubber gloves protect from variety of chemicals like solvents, acids and bases and must be selected according to the chemical which are to be handled. 

Goggles and windshields are used to protect the face and eyes from flying object or chemical splashes. Much like the gloves, the type of protections should be selected according to the work done. Face shield are typically used when the work requires extra level of protection. Remember, reading glasses do NOT substitute eye protection as they leave a gap between the eyes and the glasses which is potentially dangerous.

Respirators are another form of protection. These have to be worn when the studio cannot be adequately ventilated. When selecting respirator take into consideration the type of contaminants (gas or vapor), concentration of contaminants, level and duration of exposure.

Safety work boots are often overlooked part of the equipment. Depending on the level of protection required, there you can select steel-toed work boots that will protect you against heavy falling objects; waterproof boots is you work frequently in wet areas, boots with electrical hazard protection to prevent electric shock. One of the most important things to remember is to choose comfortable work boots that fit you just right. When you use them 8 hours a day, day after day, this is not something that is worth to neglect.

Other type of safety equipment:
Earplugs: If the level of the noise is higher than recommended, or you are exposed to loud noise for longer periods of time.
Hard hats: if you work with heavy or high standing objects, these provide extra level of protection against flying or heavy objects
Other garments such as coveralls, sleeves, aprons, knee pads are used to protect the body, legs or arms from chemical splashes, flying objects, fire sparks or molten metal.

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