Studio safety rules – managing dust
Dust in the pottery studio contains particles of silica which are a health hazard. There are some simple rules to minimise your exposure.
RULE 1: “IF IT’S WHITE IT NEEDS A WIPE”
RULE 2: NEVER blow dust
- Minimise dust by constantly wiping down work surfaces with a wet sponge or mop on the floor
- Always soak aprons in a bucket of water or wipe down with a sponge
- Prolonged exposure to silica dust can cause a serious lung disease called Silicosis – be aware for your own and other’s health
- Exercise caution always, be vigilant, use a wet sponge and/or spray bottles and always wash hands before consuming food or drink.
Tips to minimise dust
- Avoid sanding, carving, scraping or scraffito of dry pieces. If you must do it, then:
- Wear a proper dust mask with a minimum of a P2 rating
- Work outside over moist newspaper or a shallow bowl of water so all fine dust drops straight into the water
- NEVER BLOW DUST when carving, incising, turning, glazing or sanding. Use a brush instead
- NEVER scrape dry clay from ware boards or bats. Wash it off instead
- ALWAYS use a wet sponge to sponge work surfaces after wedging clay and as soon as white dust starts to appear on any surface
- Replace plastic sheets that cover the shelf or your work regularly as they gather dust over time
- Take clay out of the bag and place in a plastic container, in order to eliminate clay dust from the bag
- NO floor-sweeping! Use a wet mop only and change the water in the bucket often
- Have “studio shoes” that you only wear in the studio so no dust goes home with you
- Wear a “lab coat” or have a set of “studio clothes” that you change into
- Wash aprons in a bucket of water before putting into the normal wash.
Remember – “If it’s white it needs a wipe”