Safety First!

Hobbies & Hazards

Hobbies, no matter how enjoyable, have some sort of risk or danger associated with them. Take for example these hobbies and their inherent dangers:

  • Woodworking:
  1. sore finger from a hammer swing and a miss
  2. cut to skin or loss of digit from saw
  • Stained glass:
  1. hazardous fumes from solder
  2. cuts to fingers/skin from glass and/or the tool used to cut the glass
  •  Even quilting has a few dangers associated with it:
  1.  pin pricks
  2. finger caught in sewing machine needle
  3. buying too much fabric = empty wallet (jk)
  4. skin burned by contact with hot surface of iron and/or steam

Rotary Cutters

The occupational hazard I think about most is the injuries that can occur from a rotary cutter. Rotary cutters are incredibly sharp. The thin round blade attached to the handle easily and quickly cuts through fabric. As a result, they can cut through many other things as well. Of the non-fabric items that I have sliced through, these are the two things that come to mind:

  • My cat’s ear: My cats just love to be by me, no matter where I am. One of my cats found out the hard way just how sharp a rotary blade is and how quickly damage can be done. After trying to discourage her presence, on my table, too no avail, I gave up and went about my business. As I prepared to swipe through a segment of fabric she just happened to slide her head and her ear in the direct path of the rotary cutter. The tip of her ear and the blade of my rotary cutter ended up in the same place at the same time. Needless to say the rotary cutter won out. Cat = 0 Rotary Cutter = 1
  • My skin

Two Kinds

There are two kinds of rotary cutters. The first and older version of the rotary cutter has a safety guard that must be manually unlocked/locked. The fancier rotary cutter has an automatic guard that slides out-of-the-way when the two-part handle is squeezed together. I have the manual version.

Never Fool-Proof

The built-in manual safety feature isn’t fool-proof for obvious reasons. In order for it to be affective it must be engaged. The other reason is, even with the safety on, one can still get cut by the blade. I had first-hand experience with just such a mishap.

As is usually the case, the manual safety for my rotary cutter was engaged. Out of clumsiness I dropped the rotary cutter off my table. When it landed it first hit my leg, then the floor. The floor was not damaged but my leg was. The “protected” cutting blade somehow cut my skin. So to those quilters that insist that a covered blade is a safe blade I say hog-wash. Never assume a rotary cutting blade is safe.

Safety First

No matter what activity you enjoy, always observe the safety measures associated with the hobby. The safeguards are there for a reason. While careful observance may not completely protect you from the inherent dangers, it will certainly eliminate most of them.

6 thoughts on “Safety First!

  1. I cut my fingernail off with my rotary cutter — the LONG way. I’m right-handed and was holding my ruler with my left hand. Left middle finger, unfortunately, was just over the edge. Sliced it pretty good. Surprisingly, I didn’t lose the nail (which got stitched back on) and it grew in just fine. I have a slight loss of sensation on that finger tip. But considering what a … I was, that was a small price for the lesson learned. Oh, that and the bucks I paid for the emergency room visit.

    Thanks for the reminder.

      1. Thank Goodness! Darn rotary cutters should know the aren’t suppose to cut us! 😎

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