There have been a few questions flying around recently about ways to work safely in your house with fused glass. I sometimes work on my fused glass projects in my kitchen, so thought I'd tell you what works for me.
Nobody but me is allowed in the area while I'm working.
I cut carefully and make sure there's no open food-containing items nearby. I work on a big cutting mat, and also clean the worktop with damp kitchen towel to get all the itty bitty splinters up, then sweep the floor after I finish.
I keep all the shards and bits of kitchen towel in a separate lidded box (takeaway tub!) and dispose of it carefully when it's full. I pick up any big flying bits as I go (and often use them in other projects!).
If I'm doing something which will definitely be messy, like lots of powder sifting, I sometimes open up a bin liner and put it over the work surface before I start. Wear your dust mask when using powders. I also turn on the extractor fan.
If I had pets or small kids then I would recommend a separate working area where they don't go.
I always wear safety glasses. Always. And shoes. I always cut standing up. I wash my glass in a bucket of water, and let any residue settle to the bottom before pouring off the water - this stops my sink getting blocked. If I'm peeking in my kiln I always wear my green kiln glasses (not my clear safety glasses as they protect from flying bits but not from infrared).
If you're worried about flying bits, then you can always put your cutting mat into a deep tray or surround it with a little booth made from a cardboard box, which would stop most of the flying splinters. If you produce a lot of flying bits then look on youtube for glass cutting videos and see if you can improve your technique. Use the right tool and technique for the cut you want to make - it makes things neater.
I always put my extractor fan on when the kiln is running. Or open the window! I always wear my protective gloves and special kiln glasses when peeking in the kiln. It's a really good idea to wear natural fibres, have your hair tied back and wear closed toed shoes. If you're peeking at higher temperatures or for a longer time then you need more protective gear.
If I use my microwave kiln, I always use it in my craft microwave, never in my "cooking" microwave and have a large tile to put it on when it's cooling (never leave it to cool inside the microwave as you can melt / warp it!).
Everyone designs their workspace differently. Some people prepare several projects, put it all away, then fuse. If you can do this then you need less space.
Remember that your kiln needs to have clearance around it when you're firing it - most people recommend at least 1ft, but you might want to increase this if you have a larger kiln or are doing casting projects which require extra long firing times. It also needs to be on a non-flammable work surface. I fire my Paragon SC2 on a large granite tile which I got from a kitchen supplier, and elevate it off the work surface on little blocks so there's less possibility of the heat transferring to the surface.
I have been known to use my electric glass grinder in the house - I do this by putting the whole setup into a large cardboard box with one side cut off to make a booth so that any spray is contained.
I do not use my tile saw in the house - I wait till summer and do it in the garden because it can be quite wet and messy! Even outside, it can be a really good idea to use a protective box with this and/or put bin bags down, especially if you like to be able to wander around your garden in bare feet (though ALWAYS wear proper shoes, eye protection etc. when using tile saws and other equipment).
It's a great hobby as long as you take a few simple precautions. Enjoy!
PS If you're one of those lucky people who has a whole room or a dedicated studio for their glass work, then do check out my other post about setting up your fused glass studio.
Disclaimer: I hope you find these tips useful. Use at your own risk. Always fuse responsibly.
Experienced silk painter, glass fuser, teacher, enthusiastic and inspirational.