How to Stay Safe in Your Metal Fabrication Shop
Kevin addresses how to stay safe in a studio where he works with hot and sharp metal and dangerous equipment. How does he keep from hurting himself when working?
The most basic thing is to have the proper personal protection equipment. Kevin does a lot of welding, so he has a good, autodarkening helmet. He's added a leather bib on the front of it to protect his neck and chest area from sunburn and sparks.
Kevin also emphasizes the importance of the proper gloves for what you're doing. He has lots of gloves. He shows his TIG welding gloves. He also has work gloves for moving metal around, sweeping, etc. They're light and made of deerskin, so they don't get stiff from the sweat. He also shows some anticut, antiabrasion gloves.
One of the most important things in his studio and anywhere there is flame, sparks and smoke is to have fire extinguishers. Kevin shows the four he keeps around his studio, three in the working area and one in the office. They're ABC, so they can handle anything that might catch fire. If you need a fire extinguisher, there's always one a couple of steps away.
Back in the work area over by the deep sink, where you'd go to clean up whatever kind of wound you just gave yourself, Kevin has a welder's first aid kit. It has lots of different sized bandages, burn ointment, eye creams, tweezers, a magnifying glass for pulling out splinters, and more.
Don't forget your safety glasses, too. Not only the ones you need to see, but clear safety glasses for working and dark ones for plasma cutting or oxygen-acetylene welding.
Kevin is also a big proponent of using dust masks when grinding or even sweeping because of the dust that's kicked up.
And don't forget hearing protection! Kevin shows his favorite "Mickey Mouses," explaining that the aerial doesn't mean he's radio controlled, just that he's listening to the radio while he wears them.
Another really important thing to do to stay safe is use a block and tackle to lift heavy items such as metal. Kevin has different hard points in the ceiling so he can move the block and tackle around. He can also bring in the engine hoist and use it to lift plate steel.
Another important aspect of staying safe: sweep! Pick things up and put them away. Don't have extension cords running across the floor where you might trip on them. Keep your welding cables from underfoot. Know exactly where they are, and push them out of the way whenever possible.
Hopefully that will help keep you safe. Kevin is ready to go back to work, but you might want to stick around for one more moment to see his display his amazing manual dexterity ....
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