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Safety Replies Compilation #2

Hi all

Before investing in any cleaning equipment =D6 try the WATER
SOLUBLE (WS) polishing compounds. May purchase from Gesswein and
others. I have been using for some time and cleaning is no longer
a problem=D6. Ammonia and other stuff. Simple use any soap and warm
water with tooth brush. I use WS Graybar for cut-down and general
touch-up. Then WS RED rouge for finale polish My experience is
with Silver =D6 gold should be similar.

Go with the flow

   What accidents have you had or seen in the studio?

-Just the typical cuts on my fingers from overzealous sawing, burns, etc.
-nothing major.

   Have you had or seen any bad experiences using chemicals in
the workplace?

Yes, with the liver of sulphur, but I was fortunate to be wearing my
glasses at the time.

   Have you had or seen any chronic illnesses caused by
working in a jewlery studio? (anything from silicosis to skin

-No, I say “not yet” because I’ve only been at it for a few years now.

   What would you like a safety report for the jewlery
workshop to deal with?
  • I would think that a safety report should cover everything the "average"
    Jewelers studio would have-what is average? I’m not sure.
   Any preferences for how you would want information

-An essay would be fine for this sort of thing.

Tim Goodwin

Most of the accidents I’ve experienced and seen is ‘paper’ cuts from
thin metal and sawblades then an introduction of the metal dust. Ouch !
I’m sure this isn’t new, but I thought I’d send it just in case everyone
else thought it to mundane. No serious effects yet!
Terry Swift

One of the most common and really dangerous accidents has to be the dangli=
hair situation. I have always been careful about tying my hair back and I
was the day this happened too. I had my hair back in a tail with a bandan=
on top even, but enough stray hairs slipped out to wreak havoc on my head.=
was using the flex shaft in the group studio in college and while bending
close to get a good look at the piece through my goggles my hairs got wrap=
around the wire brush and bam, the handpiece went racing towards my head.
The natural reaction is to pull away, thus increasing the pressure on the
foot pedal and increasing the speed as it smashed into my head. When my h=
cleared I took stock of my situation…stuck alone with a flexible shaft
attached to my head. The pain, the patch of missing hair and the humiliat=
of only being able to chuck the tool out of the handpiece and having to wa=
down the hallway to the bathroom with it stuck to the top of my head have
convinced me to do frequent hair checks.

I have heard similar stories from woodworkers involved being knocked
unconscious by a hand drill despite a ponytail.

Have you had or seen any bad experiences using chemicals in the

Actually my biggest problems there have been caused my carelessness of
others…despite announcing repeatedly as I was walking through the room
"carrying a tray of seriously toxic gold electroplating solution" Younge=
students would disregard the seriousness of the situation and blunder into

What accidents have you had or seen in the studio?

splashing pickel, nothing serious. cutting fingers
with jewelers saw. I think the most serious problem
is inhaling the dust from cutting and filing metals,
and not wearing goggles or masks.

Have you had or seen any bad experiences using chemicals in the


Have you had or seen any chronic illnesses caused by working in
a jewlery studio? (anything from silicosis to skin conditions)

As you know, Phillip Fike died from pulmonary silicosis.
I think I remember you explaining in a workshop that
your skin, especially your face, has been effected
by using copper.

What would you like a safety report for the jewlery workshop to
deal with?

I think there should be an emphasis on the not-so-obvious hazards like
inhaleing chemicals and metal dust. People
generally do not wear goggles or masks, and don’t think
its necessary.
Vincent Cocciolone

Here’s a few accidents that I’ve had in the studio:

  1. Trying to buff a heavy gents link bracelet on the polishing machine,
    the bracelet got caught in the buff and beat my hand severely and sprained
    my finger.

  2. sizing a ring up the shank was under too much tension and the piece
    of gold in the bottom flew up and hit me in the face burning me.

  3. melting gold down into ingot form, I wasn’t wearing goggles and a
    hollow piece of jewelry exploded, and the gold hit me in the eye. Luckily I
    blinked, because it singed my eyelashes and burned my bottom lid. I cannot
    stress enough how stupid it is not to wear eye protection and also to be
    careful when working on hollow pieces. When I do a repair, like soldering a
    post on a hollow earring, I make sure to drill a tiny hole so the air will

  4. I used to leave my torch on low when I was doing a lot of soldering
    at one time. One time i got up to buff a ring ( the buffer is to the right
    of my bench). When I turned around the back of my shirt caught on fire.
    Luckily someone was there to put me out, because I have long hair! I never
    leave my torch on any more, although I know many goldsmiths that do.

  5. as far as long term affects, my hands are a wreck because of repeated
    polishing. I’ve tried finger guards and alligator skin, but I don’t trust
    anything but my own grip on the jewelry. My skin cracks and I have to worry
    about chemicals getting in it.

I hope this helps!

Wendy Newman

Several months ago while working in my basement sizing a ring I
generally put the lid on my alchol lamp then shut off my oxy/acet torch.
However this time I put the lid on the lamp but decided to put the ring
in the cleaner leaving the torch on just to make sure I had a good
solder joint. Seeing that the job was ok I left to take a trip to Tulsa
and was gone all day. When I got home and went down to the basement to
my work shop it was completely covered with soot. The oxygen and
completely burned out and the acetylene left the soot on everything in
the basement. I’m still cleaning. Guess that’s what happens when one
breaks a routine.
Bob Goll

Accidents seen and had: Burns, with hot metal, torches and alcohol
lamps. With alc. lamps, esp. from reaching across the lamp to get
something else an= d thereby using it for (unintentional) hair
removal on hands and arms, also ba= ngs (like the girl who was to be
in a wedding in 2 days, leaned over a lit lamp = and burned hers off)
Cuts: sharp metal and exacto knives are the most common. People who
don’t wear eye protection while using drill presses, buffing wheels
and hand motors. I’ve seen people get things in their eyes,
fortunately all were minor.

 Have you had or seen any bad experiences using chemicals in
the workplace? Beware of dropping hot metal into pickle. 
Causes nasty steam, not good for inhaling. Have you had or seen
any chronic illnesses caused by working in a jewlery studio?
(anything from silicosis to skin conditions) No. Barbara

I do only a little benchwork and haven’t had an accident to
speak of yet. I do have a friend who does a lot of commercial
casting and bench work. Last year he put a kraus burr through a
finger while working on a ring and this year, in the holiday rush
he slipped while stonesetting and gouged the back of his hand
with a graver — a painful, but mostly minor cut — not like
putting a burr through your hand. Hope this is the kind of info
you are looking for.

Roy (Jess)

the most common injuries in my studio are:

  1. saw cuts
  2. gouging knuckles while setting stones
  3. stray hammer blows
  4. sanding or filing skin off fingers
  5. small burns
  6. miscellaneous puncture wounds
    Hope this is of some help to you.
    Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego

I have been working as a goldsmith for 20 years. The last 10 with my own sho=
(8 benchpeople including myself). The injury rate is very low. I have a well
stocked first aid cabinet that is maintained by a private company. The only
thing that really gets used up are the band-aids, headache tablets and burn
cream. Mostly the band-aids.

The worst injuries have been the following;

  1. One of the guys was boiling a ring in pickle to dissolve a broken drill.
    The water had all boiled away and so he took it to the sink and flipped on t=
    faucet. The acid splashed up and badly burned his arms and hands. It require=
    a trip to the emergency room and much teasing.

  2. The same guy had a sawblade break off and go way under his fingernail, so
    far that he had to have it surgically removed.

  3. Another guy set his bottle of boric acid and alcohol on fire. To put it o=
    he put his hand over the bottle hoping to smother it. To his surprise it was
    hot! When he pulled his hand away he spilled the flaming alcohol all over hi=
    hands and arms. The resulting blisters were the most amazingly huge things I
    have ever seen.

  4. The same guy as in #3 was cutting a sausage during the Christmas rush and
    so he must have been tired. He not only cut the sausage but cut through a
    tendon in his finger. Its was unbeliveable.

  5. One of the girls splashed Tix flux in her eye and had to go have it flush=
    out at a walk in clinic.

  6. A different guy than the previous two had the propane hose pop off his
    torch in such a way that it ignited into a three foot flame thrower. He
    freaked out, but cooler heads just put a thumb over the end of the hose and
    all was well, except for his hair.

  7. I have a freind, who is also a goldsmith, who during Christmas stopped by
    my shop for a small ruby he needed for a job. He called me the next day to a=
    if I had another one. When I asked if he had lost it he said, "Well actually=
    had the ruby in my hand, I walked over to get a drink of my coke, I noticed =
    had not yet taken my vitamin, so I did. Then as I walked back to my bench I
    couldn’t seem to remember where the ruby was. Then it hit me, I had swallowe=
    it! I told him if he just waited a day or so he could recover it, but for so=
    reason he didn’t want it any more.

All in all with saftey glasses and clean filters and fresh air, I don’t see
this as a life threatening career. I hope I am right.

I appreciate all of your good work, hope you have a great year.

Mark Parkinson

The two accidents I’d seen in a shop both involved someone setting their
alcohol on fire. One person simply had a minor bon fire on his bench, the
other person managed to spill flaming alcohol in their lap. Neither one
resulted in serious injury.

There was a guy I worked with once who shot himself through the hand while
playing with a gun at his bench. But I don’t think that’s the kind of thing
your looking for.

Dick Caverly

When I was in school at Paris jr. college, I saw a girl get her pony
tail caught in the buffer. It ripped a piece of her scalp out.I also saw
a guy drive a broken saw blade through his thumb from pushing to hard on
the saw.
I also saw a girl punch herself (almost unconsciuos) in the face pushing
a bead on a bright cut setting and slipping, no lie.
I caught my hair on fire by leaning over my work piece as I was burning
on the pre-flux.
I burnt my wrist pretty bad by putting it infront of my lite torch while
leaning on my bench. I burnt my arm on a ring I had just soldered and
set aside to cool. I burnt myself when I dropped my torch in my lap.I
pulled my back tring to pull a large wire through the draw plate.

Have you had or seen any bad experiences using chemicals in the

I have splashed pickle on myself when dropping an item in the pickle
pot.I have experienced headache when stripping with cianide in an
unventilated shop.

What would you like a safety report for the jewlery workshop to
deal with?

Proper ventilation,proper handling and Dispossal of chemicals,proper
lighting, proper use of equipment,proper seating.

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA

While I not a full-time production jeweler, I have had some accidents. So i=
the spirit of “Well, he really seems to want to hear this:”

What accidents have you had or seen in the studio?

Setting the container of borax/alcohol on fire.

Carving chunks out of my hands with the exacta knife when carving waxes.

I have a home studio. That may explain why remembering to wear shoes has
become very important.

The usual problems with lack of proper attention using the polisher and havi=
things thrown.

I use dichroic glass in some of my designs, so I do glass fusing and also so=
lampworking. Thermal shock occasionally shoots hot glass bits at me and has
burned some holes in my apron. A better way of working with possible hot
projectiles would be to wear a non-flamable apron with no pockets.

Have you had or seen any bad experiences using chemicals in the workplace?

Only that I believe the constant dipping of my ungloved fingers into the
various solutions has seemed to result in some pretty tough skin. I have a
hood that vents fumes to the outside in my home studio, but I still notice
problems with air quality (specifically a lack of usable oxygen) when I
lampwork or solder for long periods of time. I have both smoke detectors an=
carbon monoxide detectors, but they do not seem to detect problems before I
do. I burn off binders in kiln papers, which produces considerable fumes, b=
it took a guest coming into my studio to notice just how bad the air was and
help me recognize the problem. I think it is the “frog in the pot” syndrome=