Glass Lifting: How to Handle Glass Safely | 4 Cladding Services

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Glass Lifting Safety Guide

Mishandling glass can cause serious injury so it is important you and your team know the safety guidelines behind handling glass. Even with the use of glass lifting equipment, accidents can still happen if the equipment is not used properly. This guide provides you with everything you need to know about the safety procedures behind using glass lifting equipment, how to manually handle glass safely and what to do in the event of broken glass.

  • Glass Lifting With Glass Vacuum Lifting Equipment Safety Guide
  • Handling Glass Safely
  • How to Handle Broken Glass
  • Improve Your Safety With 4 Cladding Services


Glass Lifting With Glass Vacuum Lifting Equipment Safety Guide

One of the best and safest ways of handling glass is to implement glass vacuum lifting equipment. At 4 Cladding Services, we offer a range of glass lifting equipment including the Glass Boy range. This selection of equipment can lift glass with various weights, from lighter loads with the Glass Boy GB-L, mid-range weights with the Glass Boy GB-X and heavy loads with the Glass Boy GB-H.

Although the safety of glass handling is greatly improved with the use of glass lifting equipment, misuse of this equipment can still result in injury. Here, we have put together a guide of the key steps you must follow to ensure you and your team are safe when using this machinery.


1. Check Environment Conditions

When using glass lifting equipment, it is important to check your environment before anything else. This means checking the weather to make sure it is safe to use a glass vacuum lifter, ensuring wind speed is not too high and checking the temperature on the day.

Glass vacuum lifters should not be used in the rain or when the glass load itself is wet. This can cause the vacuum not to suction properly causing the glass to slip and potentially harm employees in the area. Additionally, glass lifting equipment should not be used if there is a wind speed greater than 18mph or if the temperature is below 0°c. By checking the weather for optimal conditions, you can ensure the safety of yourself and others around you.


2. Confirm Your Glass Lifter is Suitable

Glass vacuum lifters come in all shapes and sizes meaning certain glass lifters are suitable for specific types of glass. For example, the Glass Boy GB-L can only carry glass up to 250kg. If you were to try and lift loads over 250kg with this particular machine, you run the risk of injuring yourself. You must make sure the load weight is within the capabilities of the glass vacuum lifting equipment you have chosen.

Another factor to consider is the pad spread. The suction pads of the glass lifter must cover a certain area of the glass panel to ensure there is no damage to the glass and to make sure the glass does not detach from the suction pads. If this is not completed properly, the glass panel could break whilst being lifted or slip and fall, risking the safety of everyone involved.

If you are unsure what your glass lifter can handle, you should take a look at your instruction manual, or you can read through our guide to what a Glass Boy can lift.


3. Ensure Staff Are Well-Trained

Before a staff member can use a glass lifter, it is important they are trained in operating the equipment. Understanding when there is an issue and things to look out for to prevent any hazards are imperative in ensuring a safe working environment.


4. Conduct a Pre-Use Check

Conducting a general check of the glass lifter is crucial to confirm there is no damage or faults with the machinery. Checking for any fault lights or warning lights before using the glass lifter will minimise any hazards. Your glass lifter should also be maintained monthly and yearly to check for any signs of damage. Maintenance is the key to ensuring your equipment is working optimally, preventing the risk of injury due to malfunctioning equipment.


5. Perform a Risk Assessment

A risk assessment of the area and equipment used should be carried out before handling any loads. This includes ensuring the glass lifter is appropriate for handling the glass panels and confirming the area you are using the equipment in is safe. By informing your employees of the risks involved with glass handling, you can ensure staff understand the safety procedures that need to be followed in the event of an accident.


6. Position Your Glass Lifter Safely

Before lifting any glass panels, it is imperative you consider the position of the glass panel and the machinery. For example, you should not lift a glass panel that is laid flat on the ground when the lift bar of your glass lifter is locked in a horizontal position. To ensure there is no damage to the glass panel or equipment, the positioning of your lift bar should be directly above the glass panel rather than from the side. Reviewing the position of your glass panels and glass lifter can prevent any accidents from occurring.


7. Ensure Your Vacuum is Working

When preparing to lift your glass panel you should check your vacuum is working properly. To do this, you should place the suction cups onto the glass panel and turn on the pumps to create a vacuum suction between the glass panel and the suction cups. Before lifting the glass panel all the way, ensure the pump has turned off and lift the glass a few centimeters away from the ground. Wait at least 30 seconds before lifting the glass any further. This will confirm the vacuum is working and minimise the risk of glass panels slipping.


8. Don’t Leave Loads Unattended

Glass loads that are suspended should be continuously monitored and never left unattended. This is to spot any warning signs of the glass panel becoming detached from the suction cups and any other hazards that may occur. The lifting process should be fully completed before leaving the site.


9. Transport Items As Low As Possible

Where possible, glass panels should be lifted to a low height. The higher a panel is lifted, the more damage it can cause should the glass panel slip and fall. To ensure the safety of all employees, the lowest possible height should be used to reduce the risk of injury.


10. Plan Safety Procedures

In the event of an accident, all staff should know how to handle a situation. This means employees should be aware of all safety procedures and how to act accordingly should an emergency occur. This can include anything from if there is a loss of power to the equipment to if loads slip from the suction pads. Knowing how to handle these situations will reduce the impact of an emergency.


Handling Glass Safely

Where it is necessary to transport glass panels, it is important to follow certain guidelines to reduce the risk of injury. Some key things to think about include:


1. Wear the Correct PPE

PPE is the most crucial factor in preventing harm to staff who are tasked with manually handling glass. Standard PPE for handling glass includes:

  • Safety goggles
  • Long-sleeved tops and full-length trousers
  • Safety boots

Ensuring staff are wearing the appropriate PPE guarantees the safety of employees, stopping any scratches and scraps that may occur whilst handling glass panels. Additionally, if the glass breaks whilst manually handling the panels, having this extra layer of protection dramatically reduces the risk of harm to employees.


2. Carry Glass With Two Hands

It is always essential to carry the glass with two hands and at your side rather than in front of you. Using two hands ensures you have a firm grip on the glass panels, preventing slipping. By carrying the glass panels at your side rather than in front, you reduce the risk of tripping over the glass.


3. Ask for Help

If a glass panel is too large or too heavy for you to carry by yourself, you should ask for help. When handling large glass panels, it is vital that at least two people are carrying the glass. This will reduce physical strain on staff and minimise the risk of damage to the glass panel, which can cause further injury.


4. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Having a clear path to follow when carrying glass is crucial. You do not want to be trying to make your way through your working environment and avoid hazards whilst lifting heavy but delicate glass panels. Being aware of potential hazards such as machinery or uneven ground are things to consider when planning your route.


5. Use Glass Lifting Machinery

To prevent physical strain on employees and reduce the risk of injury overall, glass lifting machinery should be implemented. At 4 Cladding Services, we offer a range of glass vacuum lifting equipment with different capabilities so you can find the most suitable machine for you. Our Glass Boy range covers a multitude of load weights, meaning we have the perfect glass lifting equipment for you. We have created a Glass Boy guide to ensure you know the ins and outs of the glass lifting equipment we offer.


6. Inspect Glass Before Handling

Before moving any glass panels, it is a good idea to inspect the panels to check for any damage. This can be anything from minor scratches to broken glass. By inspecting the glass panels before handling them, you can reduce the risk of any unnecessary injuries.


How to Handle Broken Glass

In the event of broken glass, it is essential to complete the following steps to guarantee you do not harm yourself.

  • Never walk on broken glass: Stepping on broken glass, even when wearing safety boots, can put you unnecessarily in harm’s way.
  • Do not break down broken glass: You may think that breaking the glass down further can cause less severe damage, but this is not the case. Breaking glass further can cause the glass to splinter and fly in various directions, causing a greater area of hazards.
  • Do not pick up broken glass: It is imperative you do not pick up broken glass, especially without gloves. Small shards left from large pieces of broken glass may still cause injury.
  • Never try to catch falling glass: If you see a glass panel slipping and falling, do not try and catch it. This will put you in harm’s way. You should instead get a safe distance away from the glass and warn others in the area if needed.


Improve Your Safety With 4 Cladding Services

To reduce the risk of injury from manually handling glass, you could implement glass vacuum lifting equipment. At 4 Cladding Services, we offer a selection of glass lifters that can be applied to various different needs. The Glass Boy range is capable of handling various sizes and weights of glass panels, meaning we have the perfect glass lifter for you. If you need help deciding which glass vacuum lifter is the solution to your glass lifting problems, contact us today, and one of our experts will be able to advise you.


Glass Lifting Safety Guide FAQs

How do you safely lift glass?

The best way to ensure your safety when handling glass is to use glass vacuum lifting equipment. By using glass lifting equipment, you can reduce the physical strain on your employees and reduce the number of risks associated with glass handling.


What PPE should be worn when handling glass?

PPE should be worn at all times when handling glass, even if you are using glass vacuum lifters. Standard PPE that should be worn when handling glass includes:

  • Safety goggles
  • Long-sleeved clothing and full-length trousers
  • Safety boots

What are the hazards of glass installation?

Handling glass for installation can cause harm if not carried out correctly. For example, injury from falling objects or cuts from broken glass are hazards that may occur when handling glass. It is, therefore, crucial you follow safety guidelines when handling glass to ensure the safety of yourself and others.


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