WEST SYSTEM: Safety first when using epoxy resin: gloves and goggles
Technical expert and safety fanatic David Johnson discusses the importance of establishing good safety processes when dealing with epoxy resin.
Back when I first started using epoxy resin– quite some time ago – I always made sure to develop important safety habits; starting with wearing gloves.
Back then, my go-to choice was the cheap and disposable latex gloves. But now I make sure I wear blue nitrile gloves. So, why the change of habit?
Firstly, the blue nitrile gloves are kinder to your skin, they’re non-allergenic and, because they’re thicker, give far superior protection. But, more than that, they’re better to use when working with epoxy. Thin latex gloves can mean you have to stop and change gloves halfway through an application, whereas the increased breakthrough time of nitrile gloves means you instantly have a much longer working time.
It’s important, for me, to discipline myself into wearing gloves before I even begin working with epoxy. It’s good practice to ensure zero skin contact at all times, so make sure you have gloves to hand before you start dispensing – even if you’re using pumps.
What’s more, epoxy resin is a liquid, so it can be prone to spillage. I’ve learnt the hard way not only to make sure my hands are covered, but to wear long sleeves or disposable arm covers when working with epoxy. If your boatshed is the right temperature, you should be more than comfortable in a lightweight long sleeve shirt. This is a good test of temperature too!
Recently, when dispensing and mixing epoxy, I’ve also taken to wearing safety glasses. It might sound like a small thing but, remember, it’s paramount to protect yourself. This is almost second-nature to me now and is just another excellent habit, especially in a world where striving to achieve rigorous health and safety and personal protection is increasingly important.
So a good personal protection routine is fundamental to working with epoxy. It ensures you’re protected and even makes you look like you know what you are doing!
Want to increase the safety of your workshop? Visit our support pages for detailed guidance on using WEST SYSTEM® and PRO-SET® epoxy safely.
David Johnson is Technical Operations Manager at West System International. His regular contributions to epoxycraft include: Minimising epoxy waste, The best way to avoid mistakes when using epoxy and more.