Artisan Health & Safety

A famous proverb says “Health is Wealth”. But most of the time people are concerned much about their wealth and do not pay required attention to health. For an artisan, health is as important as their skills but majority of them who are experts in their respective areas are not much attentive towards the hazards which inappropriate working conditions can pose to their health. Consequently, they may suffer from various ailments like weak eyesight, tuberculosis, bronchitis and the like. To help solve this problem, a brief list of health measures is given below which the artisans can follow easily:

Health and safety measures to be taken while at work

  • Know the material well: While packing raw materials, check labels & take extra care in dealing with unfamiliar products.
  • Limit exposure: Substitute more hazardous material with less dangerous ones. Avoid exposures to toxic material containing lead, cadmium, nickel, arsenic & other heavy metals.
  • Stay clean & hygienic: At home & workplace, use protective gear & adopt hygienic waste disposal. Keep your work area neat & clean.
  • Clean the air: Control dust, filter air, use nasal mask, refresh air periodically, remove fumes with proper exhaust. Do not use products which produce air born toxic fumes.

Material storage:

  • Store materials with proper labeling, Keep hazardous materials out of reach of children.
  • Avoid harmful acids, alkali’s, bleaches or corrosives.
  • Avoid hazardous solvent. Keep children away from such storage.
  • Use water based water soluble inks & water proof glues.
  • Choose water based materials over solvent based materials, wherever possible.
  • Never hold brushes and tools in your mouth & lips.
  • Minimize to the extent possible, the hazardous substance use area.
  • Do not smoke at work place, keep updating your self with fire evacuation procedures & possible materials.
  • Keep heating sources and ignition sources, away from flammable material.
  • Rest body parts (appendages) frequently to avoid repetitive injuries ( muscle pull, CT syndrome, ligament injury)
  • To avoid exposure to the powdered chemical components while making glass, use glass culletor, scrap glass.
  • Use a fume hood, gloves & if possible respirator. Wear suitable clothing.
  • Clean up work area with a wet mop.
  • Use cotton plugs for hearing, protection from noise produced by power tools (grinding/polishing wheels/sanding machine etc.)
  • Keep power tools away from water.
  • Artisans should only use leather derived from naturally dead animal skin.

Feather using artisans:

  • Vacuum the feather from below before use.
  • Clean feather with naphthalene to make moth free.
  • Use dust mask & wear gloves.

Shell using artisans:

  • Clean well with non-toxic substance & cleaner or purchase cleaned shells.
  • Use a wet grinder to avoid shell dust.

Metal using artisans:

  • Use protective safety gloves, goggles, masks & apron.
  • Avoid any lead nickel content in casting, moulding or polishing of metals while producing jewelery or artifacts.
  • Lead content in any case should not exceed 0.06%.

Wood carving artisans:

  • Use protective goggles, masks & apron. Do not inhale wood dust.
  • Do not wear too loose clothing while working on machines.
  • Avoid using fire or smoking near the work area.
  • Be careful while working with tools & keep all tools at specified places to avoid accidents.
  • Dispose off wood dust by selling it to some plywood factories for recycling.
  • Solvents & polishes should be disposed off safely as per prescribed norms.

Fibre using artisans:

  • Use pre-washed and disinfected fibers.
  • Store fibers in clean, dry location.
  • Use dust masks, a vacuum, & a wet mop.
  • Go for regular medical check up & if possible pulmonary function test.

Dyeing artisans:

  • Handle dyes with caution. When possible, use premixed dyes or mix dyes powder in glove box or hood.
  • Use azo free dyes and organic or vegetable dyes.
  • Dispose off effluents as per government guidelines.
  • Wear gloves while direct handling of dyes or solutions.

Protection of Natural Habitat and surroundings:

  • Protect water bodies to obtain clean drinking water.
  • Keep surrounding area of ground water source, free from contamination. i.e. do not wash clothes, clean utensils near these water resources.
  • Sprinkle (KMNO4) potassium permanganate in open well to get disinfected water.

For more details visit: www.cpsc.gov

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