Bench jewelers are the unsung heroes of the jewelry world — tirelessly working away in the back of the jewelry store, making and repairing beautiful pieces to delight their owners. At Pease & Curren, we consider the bench jewelers we work with to be among our most valued relationships. As a proud gold refiner for jeweler businesses, we know we would be lost without the great artisanship of talented bench jewelers.
We also appreciate the bench jewelers that think of us when deciding where to send bench sweeps for gold scrap refining, or deciding who to come to for safe, clean stone removal. For these reasons and more, we want all bench jewelers to operate safely. In service of this very important goal, here are four important safety tips for bench jewelers.
Breathing through a mask may not be comfortable, but it can be very important when working with jewelry. In addition to the dust you can actually see, microscopic, sharp particles like asbestos and silica could be dispersed into the air by your work. These particles can make it permanently more difficult to breathe if they get into your lungs. There is also a danger of breathing in fumes and small pieces of molten metal that can lead to metal fume fever if inhaled.
Even if you are wearing a breathing mask, proper ventilation is crucial. You want more than just a couple of open windows. You want an actual sucking device near your work area that will draw the dust and fumes away from the area entirely.
What’s bad for your lungs is bad for your eyes, too. Don’t neglect proper eye protection, even for small, fast jobs. Dust, sharp particles, chemicals and molten metal can all severely damage eyes. You also want to make sure you have some protection against infrared and ultraviolet radiation. Your work depends on your eyes — keep them safe.
If an accident does happen, no matter how minor, make a note of it in a book or digital log you keep for this purpose. Note the time it happened, the nature of the accident and the consequences. Note why the accident happened and what safety procedures you need to enact to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Take care while working as a bench jeweler and you should be able to continue to make beautiful jewelry safely. Following these tips and other common-sense precautions are a great idea to keep you safe. For more interesting and helpful gold and jewelry tips, subscribe to Karat Chat now.