Lampwork Safety

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Safety Glasses

  • Didymium glass or polycarbonate safety glasses are required for anyone sitting at the torch working soft glass (Phillips 202 or Phillips Sodium Flare Poly lenses)
  • UV blocking safety glasses or film glasses for any observers
  • Hot glass can crack and pop as it cools, so eyes must be protected from flying shards
  • The torch generates significant UV light that can lead to eye damage if not filtered by appropriate eye protection
  • Soda lime glass generates a very bright flare when inserted into a flame that can cause eye damage if not filtered by appropriate eye protection

Fire/Flame Safety

  • If anything related to the gas bottles, gas lines, torch, or flame seems wrong or there is unintended fire, IMMEDIATELY shut the bottle valves on the oxygen bottle and propane bottle.
  • Always wear short sleeves or roll up long sleeves.
  • When starting the torch, always light the torch with propane only, then add oxygen to the flame. When shutting off the torch, always turn off the oxygen then turn off the propane.
  • Never reach into, in front of, or across the flame.
  • Always ensure the torch is securely mounted to the table and the mount pivots are tight, with the torch pointed at an upward angle.

Hot glass and tool safety

  • Any hot scrap glass bits should be placed in the water filled cullet cup so that hot shards are contained as they cool. If molten glass falls on the table or floor, pick it up with tweezers and put it in the cullet cup
  • Place hot glass rods on the rod rack to cool, not on the table top.
  • Always place tools and glass rods on the table or rack with the hot end away from you so that you do not accidently grab the hot end when picking them up

Fumes, Vapors, and Ventilation

  • Always have the vent hood on when using the torches. Reducing or oxidizing flames generate unsafe combustion products, so keep the flame neutral as much as possible.
  • Certain glasses and colors contain unsafe heavy metals and oxides that release toxic fumes when molten. While most standard colors release so little as to be safe, take extra caution with specialty colors advertised as high silver or uranium bearing, vent hood use is mandatory for these glasses.
  • There is a process for coloring finished glass pieces called metal fuming. This process involves placing heavy metals directly in the flame which vaporize and deposit on the workpiece. Use extreme caution if you choose to do this, vent hood use is mandatory.
  • Powdered glass and glass dust can cause silicosis (which is like a bad lung cancer that forms around particles in your lungs). Vent hood use is mandatory when working with powders, frits, or enamels, or when breaking glas rods and tubes.