Learning Center

Workshop Health and Safety

Our Health Hazard section identifies jewelry making materials and procedures that may pose health risks. Read these articles and stay safe.

61 ARTICLES 3 PRODUCTS
Article
Plique-a-Jour Pictorial

This article Amy Roper Lyons offers two things: a Plique-a-Jour pictorial and three safety tips when handling or working with enamel. 1) Lyons has mixed her enamel powders with water and Klyr Fire (an adhesive), and they are now ready to apply…

Article
The Private Secondary School

The Beginnings The Private Secondary School with Education in Hungarian Language in Gúta began in 1991. It was founded by engineer Dezso Szokol two years after the political transition in 1989, with an unconcealed aim to strengthen the education…

Article
Carpenter Enamel Foundation Workshops

Joe Spencer Bead Workshop On November 17, 2007, Joseph Spencer taught one of the best workshops we have seen. There were nine students, each working at their own workstation, designed and built by Joe. Each student made 68 enameled copper beads…

Article
The Marsh Foundation

Two years ago, a participant in one of my workshops asked me if I would consider teaching a two-day enamel workshop with her students. I was given an invitation by Principal Roger Salisbury and Karla Hoying, Art Specialist at the Marsh Foundation,…

Product
Powder-Free Blue Nitrile Gloves

Offer better tactile sensitivity comfort dexterity and puncture resistant than rubber or vinyl. These powder-free gloves are made stronger through a process called fusion bonding which integrates synthetic polymers into the material…

Product
Finger Pro Tape 1″ x 90′

Finger Pro is the ultimate finger protection from cuts burns and abrasions. It is thin and tough and allows the user to handle small articles much better than conventional cots or gloves. This unique tape sticks only to itself and not to your…

Product
Sitmatic Gray Jewelers Bench Stool

This ergonomic bench chair is designed for jewelers and watchmakers. Constructed to provide years of comfort while greatly improving productivity and reducing fatigue it features single touch adjustments to provide independent control…

Article
Equipment Maintenance Guidelines

  You pride yourself on your pristine shop. Your equipment is laid out for maximum efficiency, your tools are stored in a logical, user-friendly manner, and you can monitor workflow effectively because you are so organized. But when…

Article
Metalsmith ’86 Winter: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1986 Winter), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda Weiss-Edwards herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, Here is a…

Article
Metalsmith ’85 Summer: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1985 Summer), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda Weiss-Edwards herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, In the fall…

Article
Metalsmith ’84 Summer: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1984 Summer), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers about book on metalworking safety. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, Can you recommend any…

Article
Photographic Images on Refractory Metals

The following article explains photo techniques used to transfer images onto refractory metals. These findings were developed during my graduate studies at California State University, Long Beach, California. Traditionally photo resists…

Article
Metalsmith ’84 Spring: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1984 Spring), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers about using sumac and the effects of gas ozone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, I frequently enhance…

Article
Metalsmith ’83 Fall: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1983 Fall), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda Weiss-Edwards herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, I…

Article
Metalsmith ’83 Summer: Health Hazards Q&A’s

This article page is from a segment of the Metalsmith Magazine (1983 Summer), “Health Hazards”, discussing questions from readers and answers provided by Linda herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Linda, You are doing a…

Article
Copper Granulation Technique

Granulation, a technique used in jewelry and metalwork, is the decorative use of minute metal granules attached to the surface of the same metal, or, in some cases, attached to each other. In attaching the granules to a surface or to each other,…

Article
Workshop Investing Safety

Jewelry manufacturers are no strangers to workplace hazards. The process of transforming raw metals into finished pieces of jewelry can involve flames, chemicals, and toxic vapors and dust—all requiring adequate safety gear, ventilation,…

Article
Green Bench Tips – Part 2

This is the second in a two-part series on green bench tips shared by jewelers who are taking another approach for their shops, eco friendly shops. A Clean Break with Chemicals Jennifer Dawes, Dawes Design, Santa Rosa, California Tired of dumping…

Article
Platinum Finishing 1 – Safety

My finishing techniques are up close and personal. The majority of my polishing work is done at the same proximity to the work piece as fabrication or stone setting. For me, the majority of my finishing is a bench technique. For many, it seems…

Article
Working Posture for Craftsmen

Many craftspeople have posture and body position problems. Ramazzini, the founder of occupational medicine and author of a groundbreaking book on diseases of workers published in 1713 writes rather cruelly (and the man was a great humanitarian…

Article
A Pain In The Neck

You start to turn and there it is again. You go to stand up from your chair and it happens again. It’s that nagging pain in your neck or lower back. After several years on the bench, jewelers often develop chronic neck or back injuries.

Article
Important Principles of Casting Safety

Here’s something to aim for: a well laid-out, orderly workshop, well-lit by multiple non glare light sources, well-maintained equipment, electrically and fire safe, with low dust and few procedures involving solvents, with excellent…

Article
Safety Procedure Evaluation

When looking at your shop and workspace and considering safety issues it is important to evaluate the procedures you use in terms of safety. This lets you get a handle on what you have to watch out for. If you do this and then make changes to correct…

Article
Metals Safety Information

Goldsmiths work with metals. Our bodies react to metals, their dusts, salts and oxides. The metals that jewelers come in contact with include gold, copper, silver, zinc, iron, steel, platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, titanium, niobium,…

Article
Studio Safety Evaluation

Just as a professional would do, it may be a good idea to conduct a walk-through of your shop. The kind of things you would look for and comment on include…

Article
Rules for Tools

While it is clearly impossible to give a set of rules for each tool and procedure that goldsmiths use, this section gives some examples of the kinds of rules that may be helpful to review when using powered equipment. hand tools and processes…

Article
Grinding Wheel Safety Rules

Besides the safety instructions that you get from a tool manufacturer in the tool manual it may be necessary for you to write your own sets of rules up to keep you out of trouble. This is especially important with employees. What follows is an example…

Article
Gas Handling Guidelines

Jewelers work with compressed gases of all kinds, in torch systems, kilns, casting machines, abrasive blasters, laser welding machines needing argon and more. Many of these gases are flammable and an explosion hazard, acetylene, propane…

Article
Jewelry Workshop Safety Report

This talk briefly reviews issues of studio safety and discusses ways of recognizing risks in the studio and reducing hazard by substitution of materials or processes. The premise is that any reduction in risk improves the safety conditions…

Article
Jewelery Workshop Ventilation

Ventilation means removing noxious materials, dusts and fumes from where you can breathe them in. It is about taking away the chance for you to breathe in chemicals and particles that can damage your lungs. Ever seen people riding around with…

Article
Basic Safety Principles for Jewelers

Aim for: a well laid-out, orderly workshop, well-lit by multiple non glare light sources, well-maintained equipment, electrically and fire safe, with low dust and few procedures involving solvents, with excellent local ventilation at…

Article
Chemical Inventory and Profiles

If you know what the chemicals are that you use and what their dangers are you will be less likely to hurt yourself with them. In your “Right to Know” binder your should have a list of the chemicals in your workshop (a chemical inventory), MSDS sheets…

Article
Electroplating Safety Precautions

The “General Safety Rules for Tools” article applies here too, as with all power tools. Read the instruction manuals and directions most carefully. Plating and stripping solutions usually contain cyanides, bases or acids which, if mixed…

Article
Dermatitis and the Jeweler

Dermatitis is a group of skin conditions that may often be contracted by exposure to chemicals and metals. These may include scaling, splitting, eczema and so on. Dermatitis is a real hazard for jewelers. Metal workers suffer high rates of…

Article
Basic Fire Safety for Jewelers

Have a fire plan; ask your fire department for advice. Keep the appropriate extinguishers around and in good shape. Get ABC all-purpose extinguishers. Get the manufacturers manual and read all the instructions carefully at least three times.…

Article
Gloves and the Jeweler

Gloves are used to prevent skin contact with a hazard, whether physical (like a razor edge on a piece of metal), or chemical (such as an alkaline solution like you get when mixing casting investment). Use the correct type of gloves for the chemical…

Article
Dusts in the Jewelry Workshop

Dust is small particles of a material. There are dusts you can see in the air; these can be breathed in, and because the particles are fairly large, they end up in the upper portions of the lungs. Some can be cleared from the body by its natural mucus…

Article
Noise and its Effects

Noise is so common that we don’t tend to think of it in terms of exposure in the same way that we would, for example, with a chemical such as benzene. Yet the treatment of hearing damage is considered to be one of the growth industries as we.

Article
Maintaining Good Workshop Air Quality

Four areas in the jeweler’s workshop produce harmful substances that MUST be properly removed from the shop in order to maintain the jewelers’ health. The toxic particles produced are generally chronic in nature. This means that immediate…

Article
Separating Work and Home

Often craftspeople start out making craft objects in their living space, a kitchen, a living room, and sometimes continue working in them even when they have grown to the point that they need a separate studio. It is not wise to share one’s living…

Article
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, other RSIs and the Jeweler

Carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of many kinds of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) and cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). RSI, CTD and ‘overuse syndrome’ are reasonably interchangeable in meaning. Carpal tunnel syndrome is, however,…

Article
Safety Issues and Litigation

After writing my recent safety book something unexpected happened. I had a number of calls from lawyers about safety issues. These guys were suing jewelry store owners in different places in the US. The litigation was on behalf of the store’s…

Article
Studio Lighting Considerations

How you light your shop, illuminate your working area, experience the reflection from surfaces and the paint you choose for the walls all have an effect on your ability to work in your studio. Poor lighting can strain the eyes, contribute to…

Article
Proper Use of Liquid Metals

Applying liquid gold, palladium and/or silver in the final firing of enamel pieces is something that can frequently raise the appearance of a completed piece up to the spectacular. More enamelers should use them, but they should also learn…

Article
Understanding the Working Titanium

Because titanium behaves somewhat differently than the standard metals in the goldsmith’s workshop some special attention to its working is in order here. When sawing, begin the cut with a very light stroke, and increase the pressure only…

Article
Safety Notes for Jewelers on Pitch, Chasing and Repousse

An ancient system of working metals, this procedure uses steel punches to manipulate the metal while it is fixed onto a pitch or tar-like material. There are traditional pine-resin pitches and modern petroleum-based ones. The petroleum-based…

Article
Goldsmithing Health Hazards

This article briefly reviews issues of studio safety and discusses ways of recognizing risks in the studio and reducing hazard by substitution of materials or processes. Hygiene: In the Workshop and Personal Hygiene, Safety with Equipment…

Article
Potentially Harmful Metalsmithing Substances

In every aspect of my daily life I am, and have been for quite some time, concerned with promoting and maintaining my health. This concern naturally carries over into my working environment. The following article lists potentially harmful…

Article
Metalsmithing Health Hazards

Very little research has been done on the medical problems of artists as a direct result of occupational health hazards. Most research has been done for industrial-type situations. In many cases, industrial workers have greater volume of…

Article
Patination Safety Considerations

Jewelers use so-called -oxidising- solutions to darken metals like silver, copper, brass, nickel silver, bronze and, with specialized mixtures, on gold. Metalsmiths patinate both large and small objects, as well as jewelry. We usually…

Article
Improved Anti-fire Scale Casting Procedure

This paper describes a process that eliminated fire scale during a vacuum casting cycle. Castings should not have a fire scale problem if the casting are cooled following this procedure.This casting was cooled using this process. This is…

Article
Enameling Safety Issues You Should Know About

Enameling involves the firing and melting of suitable glasses onto and into metals for decorative effects. It is done at fairly high temperatures, from 1200F (649C) to a high kiln temperature of 1700F (927C) or so.The primary dangers involve…

Article
Lapidary Work Safety Precautions

Goldsmiths sometimes do a little rough and ready lapidary work with emery and leather sticks or even polishing compounds on a hard buff. Some goldsmiths, however, are lapidaries as well as jewelers. Lapidary work involves the grinding of…

Article
Hydraulic Press Safety Precautions

Goldsmiths began to use hydraulic presses in small shops in the 1940s in North America. Factories have used hydraulic presses for making blanking out parts and forming pieces for some time, and presses in the 150 to 200 ton range are not unusual…

Article
The Jewelers and Asbestos

Asbestos is a real problem for jewelers. When I was first a student in 1974, we had a bucket of loose asbestos fibers under the soldering bench; we would take a handful and moisten it with water to form a clay-like blob to hold things together for…

Article
Sand Casting Safety Notes

Sand casting is used extensively for large-scale casting, such as engine blocks, and the grates that one sees around trees in cities on sidewalks, and sand casting used to be the primary method of casting in the jewelry field, and still, in some…

Article
The Basic Techniques of Shell Inlay

To learn the art of inlay, its best to start with the basics. This project will walk you through the fundamentals so that you become comfortable enough to move on to a more challenging project. Once you master this simple circular design, youll…

Article
Hammering and Forging Safety Guidelines

Goldsmiths and silversmiths use hammers frequently in their work, silversmiths especially. A regular trade goldsmith might use a bench hammer with a ring on a mandrel twenty or more times a day. Blacksmithing operations use coal fires, gas…

Article
Proper Studio Light

Do not get caught in the dark – make certain your shop is well lit. In the jewelry shop, two types of lighting are used. 1. Ambient or General Lighting. 2. Task Lighting. It is best to have a combination of the two in your shop. It is best to have a combination…

Article
Improvements in Shop Security Technology

When you work with materials as valuable as precious metals and gemstones, you need to take measures to keep them safe — which could mean anything from Rover the attentive watchdog to installing a security protocol that would be suitable for…

Article
What to Know About Heavy Metal Testing

Before you submit any jewelry item to a lab to test for heavy metals, you’re going to need to do a little homework. Current state and federal laws regulating lead and cadmium levels in jewelry have mounted hurdles that jewelry makers must clear…

Article
How to Handle the Flexshaft

In the course of my 30 years in the jewelry industry, I can recall many instances of damaged equipment and potentially dangerous situations caused by how the handpiece is connected to the flexshaft. Here are a few observations that can make…

Article
Bench Tools Maintenance Schedule

Take a look around you. Chances are there is a flex-shaft or a dust collector you’ve neglected because you’ve been too busy making jewelry. As you put your heart and soul into your work, don’t forget to take a little time to give some TLC to your…

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