Hobby Safety

Talk about anything related to creating and painting cool terrain for Warhammer and other tabletop games.

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Nagashizar
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Hobby Safety

Post by Nagashizar » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:15 pm

I'd like to post this as a general guide, and get some feedback and suggestions on things I may have missed. (Which I'll update the original guide with) Maybe even a sticky would be nice.
Thanks to the following for their contributions:
Vassago42, Emtyach

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hobby Safety

In my travels of various forums and tutorials, I've noticed that one thing greatly lacking in The Hobby, are safety instructions. There's a lot of great ideas out there, but also extremely dangerous ones. A big part of the problem here, is the target audience - I started wargaming when I was just a kid and there's plenty of other kids out there these days picking up their first paint brush - and knife. There also seems to be a general disregard for safety - Just because we're just building models, doesn't mean you shouldn't look up an MSDS and proper handling instructions.

This document isn't designed to be the end all, be all of safety instructions for hobbying - it's very important to always be aware of what you're working with and the safe way to use it. These are just some of my own observations and tips to keep yourself healthy while enjoying this hobby.

I urge everyone to read this from start to finish, as things that seem simple may have important notes and enlighten even the most experienced of us. At the end of this document are some examples of things I've seen suggested, and reasons to be careful.

Some of this may seem really obvious and/or paranoid, but I've seen/heard some scary suggestions with zero disregard for safety. Not everyone's going to follow this, but I feel it's important to be aware of what you're getting into and make that choice yourself.


General Tips

NEVER use something from unmarked containers. (Random cleaner X on a shelf in the garage)
There's an increased chance things will go wrong, and if they do, you need to be able to tell emergency response what you were involved with.

Any work with chemicals, fire and anything that creates smells or gasses/smoke should be done outside or in a well ventilated area. You hear this all the time, but fumes really can be dangerous. If you feel yourself getting light headed - stop, walk away and get some fresh air. Rubber gloves will often be eaten by what you're working with.

Always clean and dress wounds immediately and appropriately! This will usually mean water, soap, antiseptic and a band aid. (Depending on how serious it is) HOWEVER - this may not always be the case when working with things like chemicals.

"Harmless" side effects like causing dizziness or light-headedness can actually be dangerous in the right conditions, such as falling/slipping and injuring yourself.


Safety Equipment

There aren't many cases where you'll actually need safety equipment
- Breathing Masks : If you're going to work with anything that creates smokes/smells, these can help offset the impact.
- Gloves : Rubber gloves can help when working with some chemicals. If you're doing some serious cutting, you could even get work gloves (heavy leather) though these can be clumsy things.
- Safety Glasses : Will help avoid spills or projectiles. (They do make types you can comfortably wear over glasses)


Breaks / Stretching / Proper Seating

It is important to remember to get up every so often and move around / stretch. Sitting in one place (probably hunched over) for hours on end in a marathon painting session can be murder on the back and shoulders. Get up, walk around, get a glass of water and stretch. A 5 minute break every half hour will reduce fatigue and you will end up with better results for your work.

Your eyes need breaks too. Move your eyes around every few minutes as staring for prolonged times can cause strain, headaches or migraines.

Your chair should offer good back support, which can act as a reminder that you're sitting slouched over. If you don't feel the support on your back, you're leaning again. There are ergonomic chairs that involve kneeling instead of sitting, but those tend to be bad on your knees.

Lighting

Proper lighting is very important for minimizing eye strain / headaches. Natural sunlight is the best - it's actually good for you; psychologically and physically. If you use a fluorescent light (which many of us do for its "true white" properties) it is a good idea to have one incandescent light as well to offset the flicker of the fluorescent bulb. (You might not be able to tell, but your eyes can)


Chemicals

Whenever you're working with any sort of chemical, it's very important to know its dangers, which should be clearly marked on the container.
Many things around the house can be dangerous, cleaning supplies especially, and plenty of things found in a garage. With the age of do-it-yourself, it's unwise to assume "If they sell it in public stores, it can't be that bad."
Keep in mind, while the long-term side-effects are usually worst case scenarios or caused by large doses, it doesn't always take much to be affected by them, and/or it is possible to be partially affected.

Manufacturers are also supposed to make Material Safety Data Sheets available. (With "lay terms") Thanks to the internet, it can be a quick job to search for a chemical and "MSDS". The MSDS will usually tell you everything you need to know - from what it should look like, dangers (health, fire, flash point, etc), side effects (inhaled, contact with eyes/skin, ingestion, injection, short/long term) to cleanup. (Skin, eyes, fire, etc) If a chemical doesn't look like its MSDS description, it may be contaminated or old, and shouldn't be used.
Example MSDS for a chemical I use to age metals: http://www.sculpt.com/technotes/MSDS/JA ... Patina.pdf

Never EVER mix chemicals. You don't know what could happen, and if you're following someone's instructions, THEY probably don't know the risks either.
Really, it shouldn't be necessary to mix chemicals, as they don't mix like paint. That is to say, Yellow + Blue do not equal Green in the chemical world - things react differently.

If you spill chemicals, your first reaction is to clean them up. Paper towels will absorb liquids which will then come in contact with your hand.
If you get a chemical on yourself, water isn't always good. There are many chemicals where water will just spread them out and damage more of your body. An MSDS will tell you how to clean up spills - sometimes this will involve other chemicals. (A "skin irritant" side effect from a cleaner is probably better than whatever the primary effect of the spilt chemical is)

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-t ... ol-eng.php

Material Safety Data Sheets
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-t ... fs-eng.php


Glue

Be careful when working with strong glues like super glue, ABS and epoxies. If you get some on you, DO NOT cut, shave, file or tear it off. Water will thin the glue and spread it, covering more of you. I suggest a paper towel to soak up what's left, and then try washing the area. It'll eventually wear off. If you need it removed sooner than later, or get it somewhere like your eyes, see a doctor. Strong glue will usually have an MSDS (see: Chemicals) available for more information.

Strong glues also usually create strong fumes. You probably won't go outside every time you have to super glue something, but close the container when you're done with it.

A good way to start out here is to look for "gel" super glue. It's not as strong, but it's much easier to work with because it won't run all over the place.


Sharp Things

You'll probably end up working with knives often, and a key thing to remember is always cut away from yourself. No, you probably won't commit seppuku, but fingers and hands can get some pretty nasty gashes, and these things are your hobbying livelihood. Try to always put anything sharp back in a regular spot, so you're aware of where things are. A knife set will come with a bunch of blades, and usually a safe way to store them. (Like magnets inside a case)

If you're working with glass, mirror shards, needles, etc... Store them in a container that seals shut securely.

To clean up things like broken glass, damp a few layers of paper towels, and pat down a wide area. (Glass can really get around when broken) Change the paper towels often so you're not just spreading the glass around. Patting an area with tape (sticky side out) is also a good way to clean up. To visually check if you've got everything, you need to get down to floor level and look for sparkles in the light. (A flashlight or laser pointer can assist in forcing some glimmers)


Electronics

Some of the best bitz you'll find can come out of old electronic gizmos and gadgets. You should be careful dismantling them, always unplug everything first, and avoid them if you don't know what you're doing.

Large (and some small-medium) equipment like TVs, stereos, monitors, etc, contain parts that can hold dangerous and deadly charges for many years after they've been unplugged. A stray touch in the wrong place by you or a tool can literally send you across a room, and isn't just seen in movies.

Old equipment may also contain many parts that used "PCB"'s (toxic chemicals, banned from use today) as well as lead. Always wash your hands well after working with lead.


Mechanical Failure

You'll find great bits by taking things apart and chopping things up. Be aware and take appropriate precautions that there can be springs under a lot of tension, rough edges on metal parts that can cut, and lots of force involved when cutting things. I cut a small nail once with my wire cutters, and it had enough force to shoot through the bulb in my desk lamp. That's powerful enough to go through an eye.


Fire / Heat Safety

Fire has a number of uses when hobbying - usually, you're just after heat, and don't want to set anything on fire. If you need an open flame, a candle in a stand is the best thing to use, rather than something you have to hold, like a lighter. This allows both your hands to be free.

Always have water nearby to put out any fire that might get out of control. Be aware of the chance of lighting something on fire, and it's best to keep it away from chemicals. If you're heating tools to carve, induction can cause your handle to heat up too. When using fire in hobbying, this will often create smoke, and should be used outdoors and/or in a well ventilated area. When refilling fuels, always follow all instructions and be aware of how to deal with spills.

When doing rudimentary welds with solder, you may use or see liquid or bubbling from the solder, (usually brown, sometimes clear or off-clear) which is an acid named Flux. You don't want to get this stuff on you, and should have flux remover handy in case you do. (Flux remover is a skin irritant, but better than the alternatives)


Children / Pets

If you've got children and/or pets, it's extremely important to be aware of all the dangerous things you're working with. A hobby desk can be a minefield in these cases. Anything that could harm living things should be in locked containers / drawers / etc.


Etc
- Brake Fluid (stripping models) : Prolonged exposure can cause your central nervous system to collapse.
- Glass : Can be used for various effects, but it's dangerous to cut / grind it up. You can easily cut yourself on shards, it's hard to clean up all the little bits and pets/children can easily harm themselves. You especially don't want to breathe in the smaller bits.
- Lead : Many old miniatures were actually made out of lead. It'll be a dull grey to pewter's shiny grey/silver. Always wash your hands after working with lead, and don't eat it. (Or let kids/pets get at it)
- Light Bulbs : For the same reason as glass, with an extra warning - Neon lights and the new energy efficient lights contain gasses that are quite bad for you. Don't go out of your way to break these.
- Magnets : Great for modding, however as earth magnets become increasingly powerful they can start hurting/pinching/crushing body parts.
- Nail Polish Remover (stripping models) : Most contain acetone, which can cause nerve damage and other terrible things.
- Paint Thinner (stripping models) : defatting of skin, dermatitis, central nervous system collapse.
- Styrofoam : Burning this stuff creates toxic gasses that should only be done in a well ventilated area. The BLUE and PINK stuff is HIGHLY toxic when burnt and should only be used for basing and carving. (Many stores / regulations have begun banning the blue/pink kind)
Last edited by Nagashizar on Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by Vassago42 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:36 am

I like this thread. I think it is sticky worthy. Nag, I'm going to add a few things to your post to explain a few things further.
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by emtyach » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:43 am

Great idea on the guide.

One thing that i think needs to be mentioned is breaks/streching/proper seating.

It is important to remember to get up every so often and move around /strech. Sitting in one place (probabaly hunched over) for hours on end in a marathon painting session can be murder on the back and sholders. get up wlkaround get a glass of water and strech. A 5min break every half hour will reduce fatigue and you will end up with better results painting. One last thing about breaks is your eyes need a break too. Make sure that every few minuits you move your eyes, stareing for prolonged times is not good either.

Another thing that is important is lighting.

Proper lighting is very important so that you minimize eye strain/headaches. If you use a floresent light it is a good idea to have one incandesent light as well to offset the flicker of the floresent bulb.

my 2cents

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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by Hightower86 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:58 am

I usualy wear a gasmask when I cut through styrofoam with a Hot wire cutter. I always work in a garage that has good ventilation when I do this. But is it ok to do this with white foam in theese conditions considering the health, or am I overdoing with the mask and al?

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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by Nagashizar » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:22 pm

A full on gas mask might be a little extreme compared to a breathing mask you'll see in medical use... but there's still exposure there and if you want to take full on precautions, a gas mask probably does a better job of filtering.

It might also let you get in close without getting any lung-fulls of smoke, or do a large amount of carving over a long period of time, without taking the breaks you'd want to take if you were directly inhaling it.
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by Hightower86 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:22 pm

I see, thanks.

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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by Vassago42 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:26 pm

A dust mask is minimal protection at best from gases. Its designed to filter airborne particulate matter such as dust particles, pet dander, pollen, etc. It will do a fairly good job at filtering airborne paint particles from spray paint, but not the propellant gases. Gases such as the propellant in spray paint or offgasing from melting styrofoam will slide right through a dust mask. The masks that doctors wear are designed more to protect the patient from the doctors mouth than to protect the doctor. They are usually lined with a permeable nonstick inside liner that prevents the doctors breathing from shooting bits of infected slobber at the patient as the doctor breathes or talks. I wore this style of medical mask when I worked in the animal lab at UMKC to keep from breathing on and contaminating delicate experiements.


Naga is right. As for whether a gas mask is overkill. Probably. Good ventilation is the key component though. If you decide to not wear the gas mask, then I would like to recommend positioning a fan so that it is blowing across your workspace to push any fumes away from your face and preferrably towards the open ventilation/door/windows. Especially if you are leaning over what you are working on. Still air is the worst. It allows gases to displace the air in a room and thats when it can cause real issues. The gas can hang in the air where a person can rebreath it.

The most common issues from inhaling off gas and spray paint gas is dizziness, headaches, vertigo, upset stomache, and difficulty breathing. It can cause problems with people who have asthma or other breathing issues. Prolonged exposure can cause or contribute to nerve damage or cancer. Some people can have an allergic reaction which is never good. In extreme cases, with no vent and no circulation, some gases can displace the air in a room and cause asphyxiation. Thats a really extreme situation though.

One thing I've heard and will repeat is, "there is no such thing as being too cautious." What this is all about is your health. What lengths are you willing to go to, to protect your health. If you dont mind the gas mask, then I would say keep using it in conjunction with good ventilation. If it bothers you, take it off, but make sure you still have good ventilation. Wear a dust mask, but make sure you have good ventilation. Good ventilation is the common denominator.


This ended up being a lot longer than I had intended. I hope the point isnt convoluded in all of that writing.
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by michelsteeve » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:10 am

Hi I would say I'm pretty aware of what I'm doing, but learned some things. And I liked your guide so I would like to say thanks. :)

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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by Ape » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:36 pm

Safety is important. Good tips. You never know when that random mistake will be your last.

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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by More Dakka » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:20 pm

With regards to break fluid, what exactly entails prolonged exposure? I have a small open container of it that I've been stripping models in for a few months now...
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by emtyach » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:52 am

in this case prolonged exposure would be having contact with the brake fluid on your skin and having the open jar at your painting desk while you work.

if you where laytex/vinyl gloves while working with the fluid and wash any splashed away right away and you seal the container the minis are soaking in your exposure is negligable

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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by More Dakka » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:04 am

Huh, well the bottle didn't have any descernable warnings on it. Just in case I put a lid on the little bucket of it that I'm using to strip my minis.

Thanks for the heads up :)
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by genso6 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:26 pm

All this , especially the gloves, and RED THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!

A few weeks ago I busted out my first ever can of Great Stuff. And I forgot to put on gloves...
Needless to say, it pays to think ahead, and work a little bit at a time.
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by Some1 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:27 pm

I am aware of and know of all of this but I fail to ever partake in such safety practices lol

mostly because I'm usually just working a few guys at a time and don't wish to take the time to go get my safety glasses or rubber gloves out of the garage and such
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Re: Hobby Safety

Post by tyler9834 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:16 pm

Too bad I read this just now. I got a pretty nasty cut on my finger last night from using my knife like a dummy.

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