Fiberglass is used for a variety of tasks, including roofs, crafts, car bodies and more. However, one of the most common uses of fiberglass is insulation. The particles in fiberglass can absorb heat and cold, allowing the indoors to remain at a comfortable temperature. As a result, fiberglass insulation can help people save energy and reduce their need to increase air conditioning and heating. Fiberglass insulation can also prevent fires in buildings.
Despite the utility of fiberglass insulation, it can also be dangerous to install and cut. It is possible for workers to get injured when exposed to fiberglass particles. For example, workers can develop fiberglass dermatitis upon skin contact. In addition, one study found that workers who were exposed to fiberglass particles experienced a decline in lung function.
If your employees work in electronics, construction, production or plastics industries, they may frequently cut fiberglass insulation. Knowing the appropriate and safe measures when cutting fiberglass can protect workers from injuries like serious lung, skin, and eye damage.
3 safety tips for cutting fiberglass insulation
Fiberglass insulation can come in the form of a sheath, blanket or sheet. When cutting it, tiny particles can cloud the air and irritate vulnerable parts of the body. That’s why it’s important to cover as much of the body as possible while cutting fiberglass insulation, whether in a facility or outdoors.
Both short-term and long-term exposure to fiberglass particles can cause health issues. The following tips can help workers stay safe while cutting the glass:
- Wear gloves and long sleeves — Fiberglass is made up of tiny, thin particles of glass. They can become airborne as fiberglass insulation is cut. Without proper protection like gloves and sleeves, the fiberglass can get stuck in employees’ skin and cause irritation, pain, redness and swelling. Fiberglass pieces will need to be removed as soon as possible by a health care professional.
- Wear masks — Airborne fiberglass particles can also be inhaled and irritate the lungs, leading to sneezing, coughing and wheezing. An effective and thick dust mask can help keep particles away from workers’ nose and mouth while cutting fiberglass. Look for a particulate respirator mask that is specifically rated for fiberglass. If cutting indoors, workers can also open a window to increase ventilation and decrease inhalation risks.
- Wear goggles — The eyes can become easily irritated by fiberglass particles. In fact, these tiny pieces of glass can scratch the eyeball and possibly cause permanent damage. By wearing safety goggles with side shields, workers can lower their risk of getting fiberglass in their eyes. They can also make sure that there are eyewash stations nearby in case particles enter their eyes while working.
Work-Fit can help keep your employees safe while cutting fiberglass insulation
While fiberglass insulation is safe to use in homes and schools once installed, it can be dangerous to cut. Even minimal exposure can irritate the skin and eyes. Our team at Work-Fit can help train your employees on how to safely cut fiberglass insulation, while lowering their risk of injury. Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees safe.