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Author Topic: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...  (Read 2368 times)

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gemfeller

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2017, 02:59:00 PM »

Going broke for sure.  But I think the potential for electric shock may rank right up there. 

We work with our hands wet around electrically-powered machines.  Most commercial units are designed with shock protection in mind but it's something to think about when doing work with home-brewed designs and unusual equipment arrangements for drilling, carving etc. 

There are others here that know more about electrical hazards than me and I hope they'll chime in with their knowledge/experience. 

Eye protection is another biggie for me.  I got a small rock chunk in my eye while grinding a cab some years back.  It caused a lot of problems and pain.  I've also had small rotary disks explode while using my Foredom for metal work.  The most dangerous IMO are the little silicon carbide disks that can be very handy for certain jobs but are fragile and easy to misalign leading to little pieces flying everywhere.

Fuel gas and oxygen connections are another concern.  They should be checked fairly often with soapy water to ensure against leaks.  Propane tanks used indoors can be dangerous because propane is heavier than air and accumulates near the floor unless ventilated.  Overfilled tanks will vent during hot weather so safety people recommend that tanks be kept outside with the gas piped to the work area.
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Grayco

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2017, 12:21:55 PM »

Going broke for sure.  But I think the potential for electric shock may rank right up there. 

We work with our hands wet around electrically-powered machines.  Most commercial units are designed with shock protection in mind but it's something to think about when doing work with home-brewed designs and unusual equipment arrangements for drilling, carving etc. 

There are others here that know more about electrical hazards than me and I hope they'll chime in with their knowledge/experience. 

Eye protection is another biggie for me.  I got a small rock chunk in my eye while grinding a cab some years back.  It caused a lot of problems and pain.  I've also had small rotary disks explode while using my Foredom for metal work.  The most dangerous IMO are the little silicon carbide disks that can be very handy for certain jobs but are fragile and easy to misalign leading to little pieces flying everywhere.

Fuel gas and oxygen connections are another concern.  They should be checked fairly often with soapy water to ensure against leaks.  Propane tanks used indoors can be dangerous because propane is heavier than air and accumulates near the floor unless ventilated.  Overfilled tanks will vent during hot weather so safety people recommend that tanks be kept outside with the gas piped to the work area.

Indeed Electrical hazards are real.  Some lapidary equipment is VERY old.  I'm currently restoring a VERY old 20" saw.  The electrical was not working when I got it.  The wiring I removed was old fabric insulated wire.  The insulation was broken down in several spots.  This machine had been upgraded a couple times but that old wiring was still in use.

Be sure your equipment is properly grounded.  If you get hooked up with 120V from a shorted motor, It could really ruin your widow's/widower's day.

Be sure you have GFCI protection for your equipment.  Individual GFCI unit can be purchased to plug into your outlets or if you are capable you can install GFCI outlets.

BELT GUARDS!  Why do most old pieces of lapidary equipment not have belt guards?  Man! I've seen fingers that have run through a pulley!  UGLY!  For your sake and the sake of your friends, family and visitors, PUT BELT GUARDS ON YOUR EQUIPMENT!  (Google images of fingers caught in pulleys.  It will make your toes curl.)

Keep all of all your fingers.  Some of us work with more dangerous tools, like table saws or circular saws or metal shears.  I once worked with an old Englishman.  Aubrey had been a machinist for 40 years and still had all of all his fingers.  His advice to me?  When you approach a machine that can potentially hurt you, STOP.... count your fingers and be sure you have all of all of them before you start and that awareness will help you have all of all of them when you are finished.

Rocks and rock equipment are HEAVY!  Be careful how your lift and move heavy stuff.  If you can't walk because you messed up your back, you can't play with rocks!

If you drop that beautiful 15 pound Brazilian agate on your toes, you will be hobbling for a while. That 15 pound rock is moving about 11 mph after falling 4 feet.  That is over 81 joules of energy or about 58 foot pounds of force smashing your toes at 11 miles per hour. Broken toes will make you limp for weeks and it makes rockhounding much more difficult.

Don't let routine cause you to not be safe. " I've done it this way hundreds of times"  But on the 101st time something goes wrong and your finger gets sucked in between a grinding stone and a tool rest.  Make being safe a routine.  Safe is much better than hurt!

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Debbie K

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 08:44:58 PM »

Sorry that I missed this thread earlier.

I'm extremely accident-prone, mostly because I am constantly changing glasses from short to long vision and it affects my depth perception. I'm legally blind a couple of times over without corrective lenses, but the upside is that I have extremely good vision up close, hence my nickname "the human loupe". A friend takes me with her to pick gemstones because I can see things like horsetail inclusions in garnets without a loupe.

So I take off my glasses to work on tiny things and sometimes forget to put goggles on. I stupidly was "just trying out" a new type of grinding stone in my Foredom and of course a chunk of it hit me in the eye. Goggles, people, or at least safety glasses! It took about a week for that to heal.

Inspect your belts on your grinding wheels. I didn't do this at my club's shop and a tear in the belt grabbed the large piece of jasper and my hand and pulled it into the machine. One finger was trapped on the bottom of the pan being pounded by a really sharp edge of the rock which was being pounded by the wheel. I panicked and didn't even think about turning the machine off. I couldn't pull my hand out so I finally decided to push. When I pulled out my hand I was even sure that the finger would still be attached. When I saw that it was my thought was "Good, the doctors can work with this". Many stitches and one broken finger. Two months before I could begin to bend it.

I've only gotten one third degree burn, and that was due to stupidity. Don't stick your hand in front of the flame; enough said.

You wouldn't think you could hurt yourself on a faceting machine, but I managed to a few months ago. I was trying to flatten a piece of plastic on a coarse lap and pressing too hard and slipped and abraded a significant amount of skin off my arm right above the wrist. That took about a month to heal.

Don't have your finger under a stone your drilling with a diamond drill bit, they drill you, too.

I'm sure I'll think of more later. I'm a walking OSHA violation. You should see what happens when I cook.

Debbie K
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Slabbercabber

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2017, 05:35:02 AM »

Blue hubble
Light blue bars, consisting of aluminium oxide particles suspended in stearine, waxes and fats.
You can find the ingredients of any commercial compound by looking up the MSDS.
Tiger eye is a quartz replacement for asbestos and does not contain any particularly dangerous material.
I prefer to use a vacuum port at the back of my grinders as I find masks to be very uncomfortable.
I think the most dangerous thing for many hobbyists are the exposed drive belts on older rock saws.
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vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2017, 07:26:09 AM »

Never heard of Blue Hubble, but I'm sure most of us on here use Aluminum Oxide polishes sometimes.

Vacuum setup is a great idea. Have used fans - blowing toward the unit from one side and one on the other side blowing away - to pull mists and dust away. Bought two fans from an old air hockey table to make filter boxes. Haven't tested that yet.

edgarscale

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2017, 09:27:32 AM »

another hazard/concern would be the various types of oils used to cool our blades.  some people i know use transformer fluid still others use mineral oil.  i use an oil bought from the various rock shows around labeled "lapidary oil".  don't know what it's made from.  it is expensive. i bought it so i don't get sick.   i'd really like to find a cheaper version.  any ideas anyone.
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50% rockhound and 50% wire wrap
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lapidaryrough

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2017, 11:32:30 AM »

Gravity + Rock + Foot = Pain.

 Don't drink and dig. Beer - Moonshine  tractor fuel 

 Digging under a full moon.

 Take off one glove for launch....An keep working.....digging with mouth shut!

  Many time i have return to a dig to find.....Had i just dug a foot more.  That was at Roger Mt. Oregon

   Jack
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Steve Ramsdell

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2017, 08:06:39 PM »

Transformer oil used for saws was a real bad one.  Then there is acid used in pickle without a fume hood or ventilation.  Polishing malachite with zam on a dry buff without good ventilation.  Asbestos pipe wrap that lined flasks in investment casting.  Putting too much metal in a spin casting machine.   But the biggest problem is not enough water while grinding.  Wear a plastic apron.  If you see dust in the air, you are breathing it in.
Steve
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OurEarthlyDesigns

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2017, 08:09:21 PM »

I recently got some obsidian that seemed to have a lot of volcanic dust on it. I really didn't like having it in my car because I was worried about inhaling whatever dust it was. Any thoughts? Does infrequent exposures pose a risk or could even a small amounts cause long term problems? Is the dirt and dust surrounding rocks a potential risk?

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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Michael
Our Earthly Designs
Santa Rosa Ca

Debbie K

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2017, 08:35:54 PM »

Important tip: If you get a donation or gift of "White Diamond" polishing compound and it looks really old, say thank you and then when they can't see you, just throw it away. They used to put asbestos in it. I think I read about this on the old forum, and since then have been tossing all the really old compounds that have come in to our club, many from members that are in their 80's. I think that they used asbestos in it until the 1980's.

Debbie K
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finegemdesigns

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2017, 01:16:10 PM »

I broke a slab along a fracture line a few months ago with my bare hands and cut myself on an exposed sharp edge. I now wear gloves or wrap the slab in a cloth before doing this.
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Phishisgroovin

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2017, 09:11:59 PM »

collecting rocks in dangerous places.
Like the bases of cliffs. LOL! :coffee1:
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irockhound

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2017, 10:51:44 AM »

I have a couple from unfortunate first hand knowledge and these might be repeats but since they are real they bear repeating.

Partner when collecting:  I was hunting an old Borax mine and it was close to town not out in the desert etc.  I was in a ravine and pulled a huge chunk of Howlite from the wall.  My peripheral vision caught the wall sliding in and I dove to the right and got buried past my waist and almost broke my leg.  All sorts of colors for weeks.

Get good tools:  I had an off brand rock hammer and was in Mojave collecting a Copper/Chrysocolla/Black Agate and I swung my hammer down on the rock and immediately felt a pain in my forearm.  Blood was flowing and I thought a piece of the agate had shot off and sliced me.  Nope it was a piece of the hammer and they travel like a bullet.  Went into my arm 5" below the elbow and traveled thru the muscles to end up at the bone in the Elbow.  That was about 8k in bills.

Saftey glasses when collecting:  I thought having sunglasses would be okay as I was not doing hard digging but a chip came up and hit center of the glass lens and shattered it, still saved the eye but could have been worse.  Sunglasses aren't saftey glasses (Normally, they do make them).

Chisel mushrooms:  Always refinish the tops of your chisels before going on a trip they can and will have the same bullet projectiles like my hammer if they are allowed to develop the mushroom top from prolonged use.

Snake Chaps:  I always use them and have had a couple cases where they were a god send.  Cheap and they also protect from all the needles and grabby bushes in Texas.

WATER: I will put in a note for staying hydrated when collecting.  Nothing ruins a day more than heat stroke and dehydration.

Last is Chisel hand guards:  OMG I love these and so do my thumbs.  So many times they have saved me from a broken thumb or blood blister etc. 

I added this last one after reading dust above.
Valley Fever:  A nasty Spirochete that lives for eons in dry dirt and dust and is more common in old sea bed areas that tend to have fossils but can exist all over.  Bakersfield CA. is highly known for this in the Shark tooth collecting areas.  In a dusty dig ANYWHERE?  wear a mask, that dust is no better in your lungs than the dust we make from cabbing and probably worse.
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Greg Hiller

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Re: What are the most dangerous hazards in this hobby...
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2017, 12:05:49 PM »

>Important tip: If you get a donation or gift of "White Diamond" polishing compound and it looks really old, say thank you and then when they can't see you, just throw it away.<

Wow, thanks for this.  I think I received some stuff like this.  Into the trash it goes!
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Always interested in trading slabs and rough
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