Tuesday Treats: Are you safe in your sewing room?

Well not really a “treat” this week, as I am concentrating on health and safety after reading an article recently that set me thinking about how we work in our sewing rooms.

We all pay attention to Health & Safety practices in the workplace, and on the road, but have you thought about how you “work” in your sewing room /corner?

Good health and safety work practices are expected, and accepted as the norm in Australia

Good health and safety work practices are expected, and accepted as the norm, in Australia

Patchwork, quilting and sewing in general can be quite injurious to our health so it is something that we should all consider.

If you have small children I bet you are already conscious of the sharp objects that we use, and work to keep them out of reach of small hands

  • pins
  • scissors
  • rotary cutters

One hint I read that really appealed to me was, when sewing with small children, instead of putting them in a play pen put the “fencing” around the sewing machine, so that you work in a space that the children can’t reach, and they can move around more freely.

You will both be happy, and if a stray pin drops on the floor it will not matter.

What about safety around electrical appliances?

  • sewing machine
  • iron

If you take these to workshops that are held in hired venues, with public liability insurance obligations, you are now required to have them “tagged” as being electrically safe to use.

So at the very least, for working at home, it is good practice to learn how to look after your machine and plan to have it serviced regularly.

Play safe, have your sewing machine serviced regularly

Also get into the habit of visually checking the power cord on the iron to make sure that it has not frayed, or developed a kink that could damage the wiring.

The cost of replacing an iron is minimal when compared to the damage that could occur if it has faulty wiring.

If you work with dyes and paints I am sure that you are aware of the basic safety procedures for storing and working with chemicals:

  • use gloves & masks
  • working in open spaces
  • not using utensils that will be put back into use in the kitchen
  • storing the paints & dyes in a secure spot away from inquisitive children

Safety gloves should be worn when working with dyes & paints

But back to the story that got me started on this safety post.

Like me, I am sure you have been told to NEVER put pins in your mouth in case you swallow one.

I think it was the first thing my mother ever taught me about sewing, but I still did it every so often as it meant that the pins were easy to grab when I needed them. (well I did this until I started making wrist pin cushions)

Well after reading Annie’s story, pins in the mouth will forever be a thing of the past.

She didn’t swallow the pin, she accidentally inhaled it, which resulted in surgery to remove a portion of her lung.

The best thing about being part of the patchwork, quilting and embroidery world is that everyone shares a love of textiles, so feel free to comment, to add your thoughts and hints about working safely in the sewing room to keep us all healthy.

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6 Responses

  1. […] Tuesday Treats: Are you safe in your sewing room? (alwaysquilting.wordpress.com) […]

  2. If you have pets, you also need to be aware of keeping them safe in your sewing room. Go to http://www.slideshare.net/purrfectspots/sewing-room-safety-tips-for-pets for information on keeping your pets safe!

    • Very true Nan. All the hazards that you highlighted in your slide show apply equally to small children & pets. PS: Great slide show

      • Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed it. I have found that sometimes visuals really help! And you are right – this works equally well for small children.

  3. I was sewing all the time our two babies were crawling and learning to walk … I kept sharp and pointy objects out of reach, but also taught the kids, and their friends who came to play, that those objects were dangerous. They soon learned to pick up pins very carefully, and learned not to stick them into my hand too.

    If children learn about dangerous objects they soon learn to treat them with respect, so that if they gain access they know not to play with them.

    My first lesson in teaching children not to do dangerous things was from my little sister. Mum found her sitting on the kitchen sink with a bottle of Ford Pills scattered around her. Mum paniced, and started asking how many she had eaten etc, and the three year old just gave her a withering look and told her they were tablets, not lollies, so she knew not to eat them! She just wanted something to count, and she couldn’t think of anything else which had ‘lots’ to count.

    So, keep the sharp things well out of reach, but also teach little ones why they are kept out of reach. If you make a mistake they will tell you off!

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