Engraving has been used since the dawn of writing. Over time, it has evolved and endured through several approaches and materials to include a wide range of features. However, like any other sector, engravers must be vigilant about various health and safety issues on the job to avoid accidents. There are five health and safety concerns that frequently go unaddressed in the engraving sector, as detailed by The Engraving People.
1. Fire Outbreaks
Laser engraving machines can create wildfires and are a common hazard in the engraving industry. They are a particular concern when you operate them at home. When laser etches your material, you’re not likely to see little flames very often.
Flames less than two inches in length usually go out on their own, but you may need a blanket to put out flames that are still burning before they spread. For dousing flames greater than two inches in diameter, you require a fire extinguisher. As a result, even though fires are unlikely at professional engravers’, fire extinguishers are present.
2. Cleanliness of Workspace
Cleanliness is critical for safety. A clean workspace promotes injury prevention. Sawdust and other residual materials in the air from laser engraving can cause explosions if they ignite. Also, because these materials burn quickly, any scrap in your workplace is always a fire risk. As a result, to reduce any safety concerns, maintain a clutter-free and neat workshop at all times.
3. Eye Safety
Goggles are required when working with numerous materials, but many DIY engravers often go without them. A laser engraver dissipates light energy three times as intense as the sun’s rays. Therefore, laser etching unquestionably poses a significant risk of eye damage. Because of the intense light, prolonged exposure to this might harm your cornea, lens, and retina. It is best to use safety glasses when etching.
4. Avoid These Materials
The following are some of the most common broad material categories that can be laser engraved: Marble, paper, metal, glass, wood, and fabric.
However, it’s a big misconception to believe that laser engraving is suitable for all materials since you might be breathing in harmful fumes. Vapours from PVC plastic, for example, can be deadly at even tiny dosages and should therefore never be worked on with lasers.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t engrave fibreglass, polypropylene, coated carbon fibre, HDPE, or ABS with lasers because they are all combustible. As a general rule, many experts advise against using materials you aren’t sure about and known combustible substances.
5. Leaving Lasers Unattended
Many laser engravers are fast, but some tasks might take hours. As a result, many engravers frequently abandon their machines while they work. Leaving a machine unattended is known to cause fires and material melting; therefore, a laser operator must always be present while the machine is on. If you need to take a break from monitoring, it’s always preferable to notify another operator before leaving.