How to Reduce Injuries

How to Reduce Injuries

A thread came up in CraftWeb about how to reduce injuries.  Here are some of my approaches to take stress off my body while making bigger glass: 

  1. I used to pitch the pipe up to get four and five gather pieces to flow a bit before necking or after necking until I hurt my rotator cuff--now I just ask my assistant to dump it. 
  2. I try to make smooth transitions from low-exertion (like turning while gathering) to high-exertion (removing the pipe from the furnace or pipe cooler with many gathers on it). I found I used to strain my bicep from the sudden strenuous motion. 
  3. Using a low marver for big stuff takes the stress off my shoulders. It's not so great for smaller work because you have to bend over, but it's a huge help for bigger work.
  4. Our glory holes, yokes and bench rails are relatively low to keep the lifting and turning at a more manageable height.  I'll never understand the old timers who have almost eye-level ghs and yokes.  It would be a pain to transition in and out of with little stuff and awful for big stuff.) 
  5. At the bench, I never risk my back by stretching out across the tool bench to tool tall work. I don't have long arms so I always work off the bench for anything taller than about 20".
  6. I made our yoke rotate so it's easy to get a big piece or pastoralle fork out of the gh and over to the bench and back. 
  7. Adding hose grips to all my pipes and punties that are 3/4" or larger made them much easier to turn when there's a sizable amount of glass, like a hot cane pull.
  8. I have my assistant take the turns on the pipe for necking anything that's medium or larger size. He also backs me up with turns while blowing which takes stress off my left/turning hand. 
  9. I almost always start my necklines holding the jacks forward like tweezers and on the side (3 o'clock) and use my left hand to stabilize and help start the jack line on bigger stuff. It's easier than trying to reach over the top of the glass and roasting your hand.
  10. Working hot makes just about everything easier: jacklines are easy to put in, trims don't require muscle, flattening is easier, etc. You need an assistant with great turns and heat judgement to work really hot but you'd be surprised at how much easier everything is if you currently work on the colder side.
  11. I can keep my hands comfortable by working quickly and/or wetting my hand before most manuvers.  For things that require I'm exposed for a longer time, an Ove Glove is great.  I get the ones that don't have the non-slip silicone because I find that the silicone gets hot and I'll burn an ungloved hand while taking off a hot glove.  

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