Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

4.3 Workshop Safety and Maintenance


4.3: Workshop Safety and Maintenance

NoteThis activity is required for kids to earn the Lapidary Arts badge.

Before kids are allowed to flip on a single power switch in a workshop, they should be required to read and sign a sheet outlining workshop safety rules and learn about all equipment. Machinery can be dangerous. Help kids learn how to operate rock saws, grinding wheels, and other tools safely, and make sure experienced adults are present in helping them through their projects. Whether working with kids or adults: safety first!

There are all sorts of lapidary arts, each requiring different materials, tools, and procedures. Also, according to Murphy‘s Law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Thus, no listing of safety rules can ever be complete, and any listing that tried would end up filling several volumes. There are, however, some basic safety rules. Kids should be encouraged to create their own set to match the project they undertake. Here are a few examples:

Always have at least two people in the shop when equipment is in operation.

Keep your workspace neat and organized and your equipment clean and in good condition; clean up equipment immediately after each use.

Learn about equipment before flipping the on switch; know your equipment: read manuals and take note of manufacturers‘ safety precautions and warnings.

Stock a first-aid kit in your workshop, along with an emergency phone number.

Keep a fire extinguisher in your workshop and be sure it is in good working order.

Decide what you need for your project ahead of time, and then have all necessary materials and equipment close at hand.

Don‘t walk away and leave running equipment unattended; turn off machines if not being used.

Wear safety glasses or goggles when hammering, sawing, grinding, etc.

Keep a workplace thoroughly ventilated to avoid breathing rock dust or fumes from adhesives and, if necessary, wear a facemask to protect your lungs.

If dry sanding, check frequently to make sure your stone does not overheat, and wear a facemask and/or work with a suction ventilating device.

Diamond saw blades should not be run dry because the heat generated will ruin them; always use a lubricating coolant with a diamond saw blade.

Don‘t overload electrical circuits.

Make sure any belts connecting grinding wheels or saws to motors are shielded.

Don‘t wear loose sleeves when working with saws or grinding wheels and tie back long hair.

Keep electric motors and switches dry and grounded to prevent electric shocks.

Don‘t allow grinding wheels to soak up water while idle to avoid unbalanced wheels.

When grinding small stones or grinding without a dop stick, you can protect your fingers by wrapping the tips in tape or bandages.

Don‘t use too much pressure when sawing or grinding stones; let the blades and grinding stones to the work.