Safety First: Best Bench Practices
With safety, we’re usually our worst enemy: accidents happen only to others—until they happen to us. Most safety tips are good ol’ common sense, but going years without an accident can foster carelessness and a sense of invincibility.
Regularly review safety tips and manuals to take note of your work habits and hazards in your workspace.
Protect Your Vision
Our eyes are our most important tool, so shield them from harm—you get only one pair. Dust, fumes, chemical splashes, sharp particles, and more can cost you your sight. Always use eye protection when soldering, electroplating, casting, polishing, or using a flex shaft.
Wear Protective Body Gear
Wear upper body, hand, and arm protection, an apron, and a full-face shield when casting or working with caustic chemicals. Avoid gloves when operating a powered rolling mill.
Abandon Cyanide Use
Cyanide (both sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide) is completely unnecessary. Cyanide causes death when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. There are too many alternatives today to risk using cyanide.
Label & Properly Store All Chemical Compounds
You should have a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) available for every compound. The MSDS contains information about safe chemical handling, storage, and disposal.
Dispose Chemicals Safely & Lawfully
Many chemicals (and their containers) used in jewelry are too hazardous and illegal to be disposed of down the drain, burned, dumped on the ground, or thrown in your trash. Read labels for disposal directions, consult your MSDS, or contact your local waste agency for pickup.
Create A Safe Workspace
Use anti-fatigue mats for your back, feet, and hips; sit in an ergonomic chair at a bench/desk high enough to reduce back strain; place electrical out the way and keep a fire extinguisher within reach; survey your workspace and identify potential hazards.
Ventilate Your Workspace
Toxic fumes are often produced at the bench. Create cross ventilation if possible in your work area or create your own setup.
Collect Particulate Matter
Venting particulates requires collecting them. Wear a properly fitting facemask or particulate respirator and use an OSHA-approved high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to trap particulates.
Keep Hands & Fingers Safe From Tools
When using sharp tools like a jewelers saw, keep extremities out of the travel direction.
First Aid Kit
Burns, cuts, and abrasions are common when working at the bench. Stock your first-aid kit with bandages, assorted dressings, antibacterial ointments, and finger cots.
Avoid Loose & Dangling Objects
This applies to long and mid-length hair, loose clothing, and accessories like ties, scarves, and necklaces. Items and hair caught in tools and machinery can damage either object at best or rip them out and off you at worst.
Stop Eating At The Bench
Residue from chemicals, metal dust, and more can contaminate your food—and vice versa.
Do you practice safety in your store or at the bench? Any other tips you want to share with us? Share with us in the comments below!
For more safety tips, call our Tools Tech Team at 1-800-877-7777 ext. 4300. and have a safe day!