Don't Wait Until It's Too Late!!

Many of us truly understand from our earliest childhood days the dangers of glass. It can be broken and when it does it can result in painful loss of red stuff - which in itself is rather messy to say the least.

But working with things that create dust does not often appear to us as dangerous. I’m here to tell you that it can be.

There can be a grave hazard to your lungs, eyes and skin from the dust and over spray created during sandblasting. Many of the abrasives can cause lung irritation, scaring and other unpleasant side effects. It is wise to protect yourself while working with these abrasives and there are several ways to do that.

From this picture, you can see (well almost) me in what my family has come to accept as normal. When I work in the sandblasting box, the vacuum keeps most of the dust away from me and the window provides good protection for my eyes. Although, as this is a collapsible box, the corners are not air tight, and I still get a bit of dust on me - my hat is critical as I hate that grit in my hair!

When blasting outside the box, the passive respirator with separate filter cartridges is a must. Be sure your respirator is rated to handle dust and mist - not all of them are.

For you folks that wear glasses, the goggles are still a necessity. They keep the grit way from your eyes - something glasses just can’t do - and they protect your glasses as well. If, or I should say when, you get sandblasting dust on your glasses DON’T WIPE THEM OFF! Rinse them off very well first, then use a clean soft towel to dry them. The abrasive can waste a pair of glasses in seconds!

The sandblasting abrasives are designed with sharp edges - a clue that if you get any of the dust or abrasive in your eyes, don’t rub them! Rinse them gently with water or approved eye wash. Scratched glasses can be replaced - scratched or damaged eyes aren't’t so easy to fix and a lot less pleasant to live with.

Remembering that the dust can also scratch, be careful of jewelry and watches, brush them off gently or rinse them before aggressively cleaning them off.

If working outside, I would recommend a full hood that fits down over your shoulders. You will probably be fine under it as the wind will carry away most of the dust, but a respirator never hurts.

Don’t forget the sound levels that you might be working around when it comes to protection as well. The noise of the vacuum system or the running of the air compressor can also be dangerous. The protection that I wear every time I blast is a good pair of insulated ear protectors.

The key here is to enjoy yourself while you work with glass. Remember it’s not just the sharp fragments of glass while you are cutting it or picking up the pieces of your last project you just dropped on the floor - it’s the dust and noise that can do damage over time that is more likely to do you harm.