Health and Safety in the workshops
Health and Safety in the workshops
Working in the workshops brings with it a not to be underestimated risk for our health and physical integrity. To avoid endangerment from using tools, machines or dangerous material, the following behavioural code is to be strictly followed:
- Safety boots are to be worn
- Some works might necessitate personal safety equipment like goggles, ear protection, safety gloves etc. Please consult the respective references and pictograms.
- Clothing worn at work must not be able to be drawn in by mechanical systems. Long hair is at special risk. It has to be covered by, e.g., a hair net.
- Jewelry like chains, necklaces or rings can also be dangerous and might have to be taken off.
- Machinery is only to be used after the instruction by the course supervisor.
- In the case of a chronic or acute illness, extra care is to be taken and medical advice on the ability to work is to be considered. During pregnancy, the participation in the workshop dates is usually not possible.
- Please be considerate and keep your work place clean. Orderly work places are the prerequisite for efficiency and safety.
- In the case of malfunction of equipment, machinery, house automation or other faults during the working process, stop your work and contact a supervisor.
- Always inform the supervisor in the case of accidents and injuries. This is also true for small injuries, which have to be documented as well.
Safety at work at the studio of plasticsCopyright: LfP
Health and safety in the plastics workshop
When working with plastics, caution must be exercised, since the components contain toxic substances, which can cause allergies in extreme cases; however, this is rarely the case, for the students’ contact times with toxic substances are rather short, resulting in low-level “workplace exposure”. Already existing allergies, skin diseases (e.g. psoriasis, neurodermatitis) or chronic affection of the respiratory system could intensify – sadly, this is often the case.
As personal protective equipment, latex gloves are required. They are provided in unlimited number by the department and are stored in the students’ supply cupboard.
Respiratory protection is ensured through a ventilation system, which exhausts the air from the workshop and feeds (heated) fresh air into the workshop, so that an air circulation extracts the toxic fumes. The ventilation system was developed by the health and safety department of the RWTH for this particular place and purpose. Beyond that, no additional masks need to be worn in the plastic workshop. Long sleeved clothing is to be worn to avoid contact of plastcs and solvents to the skin. When sanding with GFK materials, special care is to be taken to avoid skin contact with the sanding dust, as this dust generates fiber glass particles that might irritate the skin; this is not a “real” allergic reaction, yet might lead to rashes and redness of the skin with handicapped people. In this case, the couse participants have to ensure adequate long sleeved clothing themselves. Those can be protective overalls (e.g. painter’s overalls), which can be bought cheaply at hardware stores. It is advised to wash all pieces of clothing to prevent the dust from sticking and remaining in the fabrics. People with diagnosed health issues (e.g. allergies, skin diseases etc.) should, generally, refrain from working with liquid plastics, dissolvents and fiber glass! This also applies to pregnant women. If in doubt, whether oarticipating in a plastic course is advisable, consult the course supervisor before signing up, to clarify possible risks, discuss further protective measures or to choose an alternative material to work with (e.g. Polymer plaster)