Working with fiberglass and resin can be hazardous if you are not careful. It is important to wear proper safety clothing to protect you from fumes and from getting hazardous material on your skin. It is also imperative to work in a well ventilated area.
The styrene in polyester and vinyl ester resins evaporates into the air during lay-up. The styrene is where the strong fumes come from. It is highly flammable. That is why it is extremely important to work in an area that is well ventilated. The same rules apply when working with epoxy. While the fumes may not be as strong, it is still hazardous to work with.
Always wear a good respirator mask to protect from the fumes during the laminating process. You should also wear a respirator mask when cutting fiberglass, spraying gel coat or resin, working with solvents or sanding the finished laminate. Don't scrimp on a good respirator or you will pay for it later.
Wear gloves when working with fiberglass and resin. Regular thin latex gloves are not always the best choice especially when working with epoxy resin. Nitrile gloves work better with epoxies.
Eye protection is a must. Getting resin or catalyst in your eyes can cause permanent damage. Just the fumes alone could irritate your eyes making it very uncomfortable to work. Make sure the protective eye wear you choose is shatter proof.
Coveralls (as pictured at the beginning of this post) protect your body and clothes. Different sizes are available. Some have hoods. There is also what is called a spray sock. It is knitted protection that goes over your head to protect your hair, ears and shirt collars from over spray, dust etc. Booties protect your shoes from getting ruined. It is easy to drip resin onto them.
Material Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for resin, MEKP and any other hazardous material we sell are available on our website. Read these carefully. It contains the known health and safety hazards, first aid measures, handling and storage instructions etc. If you cannot find the MSDS you need, email us and we will send you one.
One last tip: Keep a fire extinguisher and some sand in the shop. There is always a chance of fire. Plastic fires cannot be put out easily with water.
You can check out the safety equipment we offer at www.fiberglasswarehouse.com.