Or, how you can become complacent at work and then smeg up your hand in time for Christmas with hot, sharp glass.

Working with glass (sharp = slicey) that is hot ( = burny) is dangerous, seems obvious, right?  I’d argue though, if you do something for long enough, you become slightly complacent and forget that if you were employing people to do what you were doing, they’d have to sign a bunch of disclaimers and have a half an hour H&S briefing before each new task.  In my more bored moments I do wonder how much Bullseye pay for Employer’s Liability… (especially after watching this video).

Long story short, I sliced my left ring and pinky fingers open on a hot, sharp glass cane.  I hadn’t damaged any tendons thank heaven, but my nerves needed a bit of microsurgery and I now have two very numb fingers (nerves grow back at 1mm/week, apparently).  Pinky and ring finger?  on my LEFT HAND?  pfft, I don’t need those, says I.  Well turns out, I use them ALLTHETIME, and on my left hand they are my main mandrel-driving motor.  I hadn’t even realised what I was doing up until now.  That’s how complacent I had been.  And now, I can’t torch for a month as a result.

It’s easy to forget that lampworking is actually quite dangerous.  Sure, millions of people around the world do it every day with no more than the occasional burn-on-the-fingers-from-grabbing-the-wrong-end-of-the-hot-rod, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re messing about with glass, which is extremely sharp as sharp things go, and also an open flame at 1000°C.  Personally, I’m going to be doing a mental Risk Assessment next time I’m in the shed doing something, and make sure to think about things a bit more.

Also, don’t try to lampwork when you’re taking drugs that say “don’t operate machinery”.  Sure the flame isn’t a machine, but it’s just as dangerous.  Bad Kathy.