In the times of yore, artisans used glass blowing tools to create glass utensils for daily use, and also to create beautiful artifacts. With the passage of time, and with the invention of machines, the manual making of glass utensils died away, though it still survives as a craft and hobby to this day.
The proponents of glass blowing as a hobby are a dedicated lot, and a greater number of people adopting it every year are a testament of its popularity to this day.
Yet, a very visible aspect of practicing this hobby is the glass blowing hazards – risks to health and the high chance of bodily injury. The hazards are inherent in the very nature of glass blowing – if you are in such close contact with a high temperature furnace and molten glass, injuries are bound to happen.
Let us have a look at some of the common health hazards related to glass blowing:
High Temperature Hazards:
With a glowing furnace kept in the workshop – with temperatures that can reach up to 2000 degrees, there is always a chance to get a heatstroke and dehydration. The external room or workshop may also get heated to 130 degrees, multiplying the heat effect. This may be addressed by capable air-conditioning.
Burn Related Hazards:
Such high temperatures also bring along another hazard – of burn injuries. The fire and the molten glass are the most obvious ways that you can get the burn injuries. More serious burn injuries result from molten glass splashing into eyes. Proper protective clothing is the answer to this risk.
Eye injuries can also result from several events. The hot red, glowing furnace emits a lot of ultraviolet radiation too, in addition to the direct heat emitted that may affect the eyes. Molten glass, solid glass particles and fumes can also pose injury risks.
Working in a glassblowing workshop and using glass blowing equipment can also result in a range of respiratory hazards. The very act of blowing into the hot glass, if done improperly, can send up a fair amount of toxic fumes inside the lung. In addition, there are fumes and very fine floating particles that may accumulate in the lungs over a long period of time.
Blowing the glass, and then reaching back to the furnace, and handling all the glass blowing tools – all in the course of crafting just a single item – can be quite taxing physically. It is imperative to maintain a good posture and balance while doing all this to prevent stress and strain.
Glass blowing is a fantastic hobby that can help you create great artifacts. However, to enjoy it fully, one needs to take the proper precautions that alleviate the health hazards of glass blowing.
Each risk can be addressed by following the good practices of working in hazardous environments – wearing appropriate clothing and protective gear, maintaining good air circulation and providing air conditioning, and following all the safety regulations.