There is quite a bit of talk about creativity and sales, social networking and costing but not so much about safety in the workspace. I wrote an organizational article that’s gotten rave reviews and after hearing too many sad stories lately about accidents, I want to detail some ways we can ALL stay safe while making art. Artists are taught studio safety but sometimes we need reminders.
Because the Open Studio art community includes so many different types of artists, I’m sticking with general rules although the resources I’ve included go into specifics:
1. READ DIRECTIONS: I know that you do but make SURE you do. If the product doesn’t come with instructions, especially safety instructions, contact the manufacturer or the company that you bought the product from. If you need to, print out the basic instructions and place them near the machine/tool/medium for easy reference.
2. WEAR SAFETY GEAR specific to your industry. Don’t think you can keep your mask, goggles or gloves put away for a small project. Even the particles/fumes from a small project can affect you physically. Before you reach for your materials, get your gear ready. Wear your hair up, remove all jewelry, tuck in strings from hoods (or take off the sweatshirt) and don’t wear loose clothing that can get caught, especially while working with power tools.
3. UPDATE AND MAINTAIN: Replace your blades, filters or tools that are too worn to work properly. Replace cracked goggles and loose straps. Lubricate your power tools and clean filters based on the manufacture’s specifications. Check tanks/valves/hoses if they seem loose or if your gauges are sticking. Keep a fire extinguisher or any other safety protection devises or rinses nearby and in working order.
4. PAY ATTENTION: You may be able to “juggle” social media and sketching but when it comes time to break out your power tools or your torch, turn off your e-mail/text sound alerts, keep your music at a non-distracting level and make sure you’re not in the middle of another important project. Keep the floor free from items you could trip over or slip on.
5. DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE: You know your tools and materials very well and you’re in control but don’t get so comfortable that you feel you can go without protection or side-step safety procedures. I think most artists overlook the “comfort” factor. Please continue to work cautiously and carefully while also staying comfortable and in control.
6. KEEP OUT OF REACH: You understand that you shouldn’t taste strange things found on a shelf but what about your children or pets? Place all hazardous materials either in locked cabinets or completely out of reach of anyone who shouldn’t have access. Unplug all power tools when not in use so that they can’t turn on if accidentally knocked over. Lock your studio door when you’re not able to supervise your tools/materials.
*Did this article help you? How do YOU stay safe and what other tips can you share with the Open Studio Art Community? I’d like to hear your comments and please SHARE this important article by clicking the buttons below. Thanks!
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