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Safety in the
by Karen Maslowski,
Considering the number of
sharp, heavy, and hot objects in a workroom, some safety rules
come naturally to us. We know not to have liquids on the
sewing machine table, and we know that having an iron set up in a
walkway is a dumb idea. But how often do you think of other
hidden dangers, both for you and for your employees?
- Do a safety check to
determine what needs to be "tuned up" in your
workroom. Look at the electrical outlets. Are there
enough of them in the room to eliminate cords snaking all
over the floor? Do some of the outlets look like octopi
are springing from them? If so, get an electrician in to
do a little surgery. Have him check for the proper amount
of voltage, too, and make sure there's enough juice to
power your heavy machines and pressing equipment without
causing a fire.
- Purchase surge protector
strips with on/off switches and circuit breakers, and use
them for pressing equipment. In case of a short the power
cuts off, and when you leave the room always turn off
your iron by turning off the strip.
- Is there a first aid kit
anywhere nearby? If you don't have one, make up a basket
of some of the following items to keep handy: Bandages,
alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, antiseptic salve
(like Neosporin) or spray, butterfly bandages for cuts,
cotton balls and swabs, a bottle of clean water, and an
emergency chart with lifesaving information (available at
any drug store).
- Make a rule that no one walks
into the room without shoes. Supply safety goggles if you
are working with heavy fabrics. Flying needles can cause
all kinds of damage.
- Make sure no one smokes in
the workroom. This sounds pretty obvious, but a butt
tossed in the trash with scraps can be a disaster. An
easily accessible fire extinguisher, one that is checked
annually, is a must. (Most fire departments can check
them, and will advise you on which kind to buy.) Smoke
detectors, and a clearly marked, unblocked escape route
are also important to survival of a fire. An entire
building can become engulfed in flames in less than two
minutes, so having these preventive measures in place
ahead of time can be vital.
Remember: the day you
don't carry the umbrella is usually the day it rains!
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