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Studio Safety :: Keeping all my fingers on my hand

This morning I had the awesome pleasure of getting acquainted with my local ER staff, haha. I cut my finger with the rotary cutter and I yelled a whole lot and immediate clapped my hand around it to stop the bleeding.  And then when I looked at the actual cut, another yell and lots of crying. Not because I was in pain, but because I knew I would need lots of stitches. My skin was flapping open and I could see muscle and bone. Yikes! It was bound to happen and I have to admit, after cutting 16 yards of fabric into 1 inch strips I was loosing track of where my fingers were in relationship to the rotary cutter. I’m still  not sure if the rotary cutter skipped up onto the ruler, or it my finger relaxed into the cutting zone.

The good news is: I missed all tendons, nerves, and major veins. So just healing time and keeping infection away. I did have to have 5 stitches! Which is quite a lot for just a finger cut. I’ll be fine once my finger regains feeling – it is still super numb.

Stitches

You think I would have learned how important safety was after I had a piece of wood kickback into my hip bone (luckily not into my stomach which could have caused internal bleeding instead of just a HUGE bruise and some swelling). But it seems like once a year I need a refresher course on studio safety and I thought maybe all of you do too.

The tips that are most helpful to keeping me safe are:

1. ALWAYS be aware of where all your limbs are and hair and clothing for that matter. You can get them caught in spinning gears, drills, buffers, paint, and rotary cutters.

2. Have a list of emergency numbers – like who to call for what emergency. Today we actually had to google to find out if there was a convenient care center in town and then call a random doctor’s office to find out the best place to go for stitches when you don’t have insurance – turns out to be the ER. You should also have things like poison control, your doctor number, a list of people to call for help, as well as a list of meds you are on – you never know when you might be laid out unconscious by a giant avalanch of crafting supplies.

3. ALWAYS cut away from you – especially when using rotary cutters, box cutter, X-acto knives.

4. When using solvents, paints, spray paint, spray adhesive, or even sanding, work in a well ventilated area and make sure you are not positioning yourself between the vent and then solvent – like working at a table with your back to the fan/window/vent. I learned this one the hard way when I started getting nose bleeds after oil painting at night with the window open and a fan in it – but standing between the two.

5. Keep your studio clean! I suck at this, but it’s really important. It’s a fire hazard, it leads to accidents – like today with the rotary cutter and a cluttered counter, maybe not the only factor, but it sure didn’t help.

Here are some great links for safety in the studio:

Studio Safety Check List from the Artist Foundation

Studio Safety from Gamblin Paints – lots of good information on solvent safety.

Health & Safety in the Arts – lots of general information on safety.

Home Office/Work Space Safety Tips – Home Safety Council.

Do-It-Yourself Safety Tips – Home Safety Council.

Craft Safety – if you keep clicking “Next” at the bottom of the page there are specific safety topics like Scrapbooking and Gourd Crafts.

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So what safety tips would you add to mine? what’s your worst studio/craft related accident? Any tips or trick of keeping things safe in the studio?

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I’m pretty useless today as far as making anything goes, so I’ll just see you tomorrow. I’m hoping to regain feeling in my hand by then! Haha.

In the meantime, make sure to check out the April issue of CLM, only a few more days and a few subscriptions left!

Happy and Safe Crafting!
Kristin

14 thoughts on “Studio Safety :: Keeping all my fingers on my hand

  1. OMG, I had the same rotary trimmer “accident” about 2 weeks ago. I had cut the tip of my finger off. Luckily, it was a very-very small piece of my finger that went bye-bye… :)

    I hope you’ll have a fast recovery!!!

  2. I saw you tweet about that and felt so sorry for you! That has to hurt. I have sewed my finger before with the machine, that hurts. Not to mention the countless times I’ve burned myself with the iron.

    Happy and Speedy Recovery!

  3. Have been following your “chilling” story all day on twitter and eying my eerie rotary cutters. How did you manage to type?
    twitter.com/groundsel

  4. I did the EXACT same thing a year and a half ago, only I cut the tip of my finger OFF and had to have two surgeries to regrow it. I cut off everything I could without actually hitting bone. I spent two weeks with my hand in a fist because my finger was sewed into the base of my my hand in order to regrow the blood vessels. It was the same finger that you cut. I have definitely learned and I am extremely careful now, to the point that my ruler slips sometimes because my hand is too far back. Feel better soon….it’s no fun, I know.

  5. Oh, I got nauseous just reading about it! You poor thing! I got even more nauseous looking at the above post where the lady had her finger sewn to her hand. Safety is a must! I hope you feel better soon!

  6. Ouch! I can feel your pain and am trying very hard not to think of the blood…My grandmother wanted me to become a nurse when I got out of high school. I didn’t since I hate the sight of blood and needles…can you imagine having a nurse that passed out when you came in? lol

    I am glad that you are ok and that your finger will heal ok. Take it easy for awhile and get some rest.

    Hugs, Kelly

  7. Holy Moly, Girl – that’s an impressive wound. Good recap of safety tips. Only, now I’m afraid to pick up my Xacto. :-)

  8. I’m having sympathy pains in my left index finger for you! Heal quickly…I’m so glad it wasn’t much worse than it is!

  9. found your posting while searching online for this type of accident, as I just did the same thing last night. Anyone else out there who’s had this, can you tell me about your healing process. You see, I’m a court reporter and I’m pretty worried. I cut OFF about 15-20 percent of my finger and they just taped it back on.

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