Safety kits for Bell making artisans

(June 2010)

Bell making is a traditional craft of the Muslim Luhar community residing in the Kutchh region of India. One section of the Luhar ironsmiths specialized in making copper & brass coated iron bells for cows, buffaloes, camels and sheep. Due to consecutive droughts, the cattle breeders could not buy bells regularly for their cattle over the years. The demand for these bells thus declined locally and the bell making craft came to the verge of dying. SETU has been trying to promote their bells in the international market. We have been able to provide them a global marketing platform & economic stability and thus also helped in preserving their traditional art. SETU partners with local NGOs like Khamir-CRC, who have been able to organize this artisan community towards practicing their art successfully.

The bell making art involves heating of iron structures coated with brass & copper powders, the process needing high temperature furnaces. Majority of these artisans still lack professional manufacturing infrastructure and work from their homes on local or home-made furnaces with no exhaust or proper safety systems. These processes require that the eyes, nose and hands of the bell making artisans be prevented from extreme temperature, fumes, dust and pollution. In the absence of proper safety precautions, the artisans can suffer serious health issues and that may also ultimately hamper their work.

Taking into consideration the seriousness of the matter, SETU in association with Khamir, in its constant endeavor towards improving the health of artisans, provided them safety kits that ensure complete protection of the metal bell making artisans at their workplace.

Brief details of the safety kits are as follows:

1) For Eye Safety :

  • Transparent borosil furnace glass for furnace observation and handling.
  • Normal transparent glass for buffing and grinding purpose.
  • Welder Glasses that are in Dark black color and are exclusively designed to protect eyes while welding.

2) For Mouth and Nose Safety :

  • Triple filter chemical protective nozzle mask for protection against the hazardous chemical effluents generated by acid wash and furnace use.
  • Normal mask for general-purpose use like buffing, grinding and welding.

3) Fingers and Palm Safety :

  • Leather gloves 12” of superior chrome quality that can withstand heat and are resistant to fire, to protect the artisans’ hands from burns & blemishes.

To make the artisans familiar with the use of safety kits, a three-day workshop was organized in which easy demonstrations on using the different components of safety kit was given. Artisans have started using these kits at the workplace and the feedback is positive.

They can now concentrate on work in a better way without the fear of getting exposed to any health risk.We aim to provide such safety kits to all the artisans in near future.