Staying safe when working with glass
Posted on 16th Dec, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
We’ve covered a lot of common hazards on the Browns Safety Services blog, but one are we haven’t touched upon is working with glass. Unfortunately, glass is subject to a lot of misconceptions about its strength due to its portrayal in film and TV. It’s perceived to be much stronger than it actually is. Now that glass is becoming an increasingly common material to use in today’s modern and iconic buildings, it’s worth swotting up to stay safe.
Store and remove glass sheets correctly
Make sure you have adequate systems in place to restrain glass and never restrain glass by hand – it’s more fragile than you might think. When removing a sheet of glass, it’s important to use the right mechanical aid for the shape and size of the glass. You should also have plenty of space available for the process and stand clear of the glass sheets when moving them. An untidy workspace can be hazardous.
Wear the correct PPE
There’s always a risk of glass splintering and so it’s vital you wear protective clothing. Proper eye protection should be a priority. We recommend safety goggles of safety glasses – whether you’re lifting glass, cutting or grinding glass. You should also keep your skin covered by wearing long sleeves or a protective layer of clothing. Should glass splinter or fragment, a cover-up will offer an extra layer of protection.
Another item of PPE that’s useful to consider is earplugs. While you might not typically associate the two, ear plugs protect your sensitive ear drums. They ensure that loud, construction noise doesn’t cause damage and that fragments can’t enter and damage your ears.
Have a lifting plan in place
Before lifting glass, make sure you have carried out a risk assessment and identified a lifting plan. You should consider the type of glass as well as the shape and size and use a suitable trolley or A frame. It might be worth attending our Manual Handling Training Course too, which covers everything you need to know about moving and lifting an item safely.
Handle breakage with care
Even if breakage is minimal, glass should still be handled with care. You should never use your bare hands to collect glass – even if you’re handling larger chunks of glass rather than fragments. It’s also important to clearly mark an area where there’s been glass breakage. This will alert other members of your team and help keep everyone safe.
Keep up to date with safety training
Good knowledge of safety training and new techniques is vital at work. Employees should only be handling glass if they’ve had the right training and are competent in doing so. It’s not as easy as it looks!
Don’t forget that we offer plenty of trade specific training at Browns Safety Services. One of our most popular offerings is the Abrasive Wheels Training Course.
Do you have any other safety tips to consider when working with glass? Let us know over on Twitter @Brownssafety