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Glass Blowing Risks & Control Measures

Have you recently had a safety moment? Post your safety moment in here and help raise awareness of health and safety.

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Grand Shidoshi
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Glass Blowing Risks & Control Measures

Post by Messy »

On holiday last week, I visited a high class glass manufacturing factory and very interesting it was too. I have seen lots of craft glass blowing and making on a low production basis, but this was a fully commercial operation.

H&S is not my area (fire is), but I couldn't quite understand the lack of what I considered controllable risks, namely:

These guys handle molten glass. They walk around with it and pass it to each other. Some sit while others pass the red hot material to them. But they were wearing uniform shorts & tee shirts, with very few additional items of PPE to reflect the heat risk. In addition, some were smoothing edges of vases and drilling hot glass decanter tops in another room with no respiratory protection. OK its hot work but I expected to see more PPE

Again, there was a sort of choreographed movement around the workshop where molten glass was moved to the guy who blew it, and another who cut it and a thread who snapped unwanted glass of the blowing tube and so on. But there was so many cables, hoses (water, gas and air) laying on the floor which could have been suspended to avoid trips while carrying molten glass

Disclaimer: I am NOT criticising this company, and I would request you do not name them if you recognise the place - I just want to hear your opinions on what I saw so I can learn from the experience

Photos below show an aerial image of one workshop and a close up which shows the PPE and Trip issues I have referred to

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Anorak Extraordinaire
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Re: Glass Blowing Risks & Control Measures

Post by witsd »

My rather cynical, knee-jerk reaction is that the more something is considered art, the less heath and safety measures are applied.

My more considered response is that I have no idea how often this process goes wrong, so it's difficult to quantify the risk and therefore determine what measures would actually be reasonable. Having said that, a trip is a trip no matter where you are, and I can't see any reason not to secure all the cables at the very least.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: Glass Blowing Risks & Control Measures

Post by bernicarey »

I share witsd's cynicism regarding 'Arty' workplaces.

There is certainly a need to tidy the floor a bit, although the floor didn't look as bad as I was expecting having ready your narrative ;) .

There is very much a certain choreography in the way such places work, but that can easily lead to a false sense of security, or more accurately 'safety'.

Your comments about RPE remind me of the number of times I've seen street artists using spray cans to produce amazing paintings; again it's the 'Arty' thing going on.
I can see no reason to have airlines laying around the floor like that.
I would certainly like to see their Risk Assessment register. :shock:

Tomorrow - your reward for being safe today...


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