In this post we will talk about that essential habits that all woodworkers must embibe in their work routine to make their working environment safe, or in other words avoiding an accident. Accidents in woodshop can be a very serious business. And you want to do everything to avoid them.
Speed is perhaps the biggest culprit for accidents all around. Being in a hurry can make you forget an important step, cause damage to your project and more importantly cause an injury to you.
Also results are also typically better, the cuts more neat and accurate, and your tools stay in good shape for longer when you use them with care .
Use woodworking tools with built-in guards
Most of the power tools come with built-in guards, be it your router or the mitre saw. These guards can sometimes be inconvenient as they can get in the line of sight Of what you are doing. But their purpose is to avoid injury And that they do that effectively.
Chip, dust particles, can come of a running blade with a high velocity. Protecting yourself is more important than anything it's. Only consider taking off the guards from your power tools if you are personally wearing adequate protection like a fullface helmet, safety jacket, gloves et al.
Personal safety gear
Speaking of wearing protective gear, you need gloves, protective vest, a helmey with a face cover, goggles and a breathing mask. Keep as much of your body protected with these at all times. It may feel cumbersome to put these things on every time you want to do a job. But make it a habit and soon it will become part of the routine. Pay attention to your clothing as well. Avoid loose fitted clothes that can get snagged and caught in high-speed tools. Similarly pay attention to any accessories you might be wearing like dangling chains around your neck, bracelets, watches and rings. It is advisable to put them all away before commencing work in your woodshop .
Stay fresh and sober
Do not operate machinery or even use hands tools when your mind is dull. Anytime you feed tired, take a break or call it a day, as tempting as it might be to finish the project then and there.
Lack of concentration results in most of the accidents in the woodshop. As for staying sober, this needs no further explanation. You should never operate any kind of machine in an inabereated state of mind . If your senses are dull in any manner, stay out of your woodshop. al
Always stay aware and alert and away from any substance that makes you delirious, even if it's coffee !
Cables, wires, pipes from a vacuum cleaner can create clutter around you and increase the chances of a mishap. Sawdust, liquid spills are all slippery materials. Plan your woodshop and your working so that the cables do not run amok. Put tools on a movable stand or a stool whenever possible so that they can easily be wheeled out of the way when their work is done. Tidy up everything after work and put everything back in its place. Tidy up alongside working. For example, when you're works done with cutting, vaccum the sawdust before moving onto the next stage of the project.
Keep a check on some important pieces of equipment in your woodshop. Fire extinguishers. They can lose pressure over time and become useless. Make sure they are checked regularly and are in a functional state. Power cables. Ensure that they are not worn out or frayed cables in your woodshop. Guards. The guards on your power tools can loose due to the vibrations of the running machine. Keep tightening them periodically.
Maintenance of equipment also involves getting your cutting blades sharpened and replaced when they get dull. Dull blades tend to catch on to wood, throw it back, chip it etc. all of which can be dangerous.
Good lighting is just as important as any other safety factor in your woodshop. We have dealt with how to install proper lighting in your woodshop in this post. How to set up a woodshop. The idea is to have enough fixed and movable lighting so you can see what you are doing at all times and when moving about the woodshop. You should at all times be able to see, where the wood is and where your hands are. This is in fact anofher safety measure to keep in mind. Always be aware of your where your hands are in respect to the tool you are working with, specially the saws and the lathes.
Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions below. As always thank you for reading.