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As a hobbyist, “do-it-yourselfer” or professional, it is important to take the necessary precautions when working with materials like fiberglass and resin. It is essential to wear proper safety clothing including safety glasses, respirators and gloves to protect you from fumes and from getting hazardous material on your skin. It is also imperative to work in a well-ventilated area. In this article, we will discuss the safeguards that should be taken when working with both fiberglass and resin.
Well ventilated area
The styrene in polyester and vinyl ester resins evaporates into the air during lay-up and 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. Open a window, door or use a fan to help circulate the air.
When working with fiberglass and resin, it is important to always wear a good respirator mask to protect from the fumes and debris in the air. You should 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. This will protect your hands from harsh chemicals and tiny fiberglass pieces. 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 eyewear you choose is shatterproof.
Coveralls, booties, and spray socks are essential safety items that can help you avoid contact with harmful chemicals and debris. Coveralls (as pictured at the beginning of this post) protect your body and clothes. Different sizes of coveralls are available, and some even 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 by resin drips.
Material Safety Data Sheets
A Material Safety Data Sheet (SDS) can help you identify the known health and safety hazards of a particular material, as well as provide first aid measures, handling and storage instructions. You can find SDSs for all of the hazardous materials we sell on our website. If you can't find the SDS you need, email us and we'll send it to you.
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.
By following these simple tips, you can make safety a top priority while enjoying your fiberglass and resin projects. Investing in these safety items can help you avoid contact with harmful chemicals and debris while ensuring a safe and successful project.
You can check out the safety equipment we offer at www.fiberglasswarehouse.com.