Woodworking can be an enjoyable and safe pursuit, only if the woodworker is mindful of the basic safety measures and adheres to it. If one fails to follow it, the chances of injury to the person working with the wood working tools can significantly increase. When we talk about woodworking, the very first thing that we should dwell on is the safety. Wood working tools – be it hand tools or basic to advanced power tools, are very sharp. They are meant to cut, chop, drill, slice or shave wood – which is quite a hard material. If used without caution, these tools can go awry and cause fatal injuries to the woodworker. However, if used with proper care and caution, they can be of immense help.
Your wood workshop is a place where you should always work in a steady, comfortable pace. If you are in a hurry in doing a project, you are likely to commit some grave mistakes. So, never take the safety rules lightly – ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude can certainly show you a very bad day someday. Here are a few of the safety measures that we consider an absolute must when working with wood working tools – be it hand tools or power tools.
Keeping Your Eyes and Ears Safe:
When using wood working tools like saws, routers, sanders, etc., a lot of splinters and dust is generated. So, wearing hearing protection and eye protection is an absolute must. Large safety goggles made of plastic, a large face shield or other safety glasses should always be worn to keep dust and splinters out of your eyes. One can wear these goggles over prescription eye glasses. Typically, safety goggles come with rigid lenses that come surrounded by a soft plastic frame such that it fits your face perfectly. The sides have some ventilation so that any condensation can be prevented.
The hearing protectors that are generally used for safety are earplugs that come with padded muffs to shield your ears from excessive noise. Failure to wear them when working with noisy wood working tools can cause irreversible damage to your hearing ability.
Cleanliness and Orderliness in the Shop:
It is very important to keep you work area and shop clean and clutter free. If scrap woods are lying around on the way, one might trip and can be injured. All the wood working tools should have their designated place and once used must be returned to its place. There should be no wires or extension cords dangling needlessly.
Check the Stock Before Working on it:
Many a times, nails, staples or screws might be embedded in the stock. These things and saw blades when meet can be a possible cause of injury. So, make sure that you check the stock properly before beginner a cut.
Never Put Your Hands Anywhere Near a Moving Blade:
Many woodworkers try to reach over a blade to remove cut-offs and waste. It is absolutely wrong to do so. One should always wait till the moving blades have stopped and only after that, reach out to remove the cut-offs. Even then use a push stick rather than your hands to remove the waste away from the tool blade.
Be Appropriately Dressed for Woodwork:
One needs to dress up as per the need of the job. Long hairs should be tied up. Loose fitting clothing, jewelries, etc., are a strict no-no, as they might get entangled in the machine and can eventually drag one towards the blades of the machine.
Use Machines Only When Fully Alert:
If you are under the influence of alcohol, or are tired, do not work with any kind of wood working tools. It doesn’t matter how much alcohol you have consumed, even a small amount can cause your attention to falter. Woodworking machinery are too dangerous a thing to be used in an inebriated or not fully alert state. Working in such state means that you will be needlessly increasing the chances of accident.
Focus on What You Do is Important:
It is very important that you remain focused on whatever job you are doing. Accidents are more common in jobs that have repetitive actions as in such cases monotony of the job can cause the concentration to falter. If you feel like you mind is wandering, take and break and take up the job only when you are ready to focus again.
Do Only What You Are Sure of:
If you are a beginner in the field of woodworking and are not sure about making a cut or about using a particular wood working tool, do not try it on your own. Ideally, seek the guidance of a friendly and experienced woodworker.
Keep You Tools Sharp All the Time:
A blunt wood working tool is a dangerous thing as it can do undesirable things to wood. The harder one has to push into the wood to make a cut, the lesser control he wields over the wood. It can result in slips with dangerous consequences.
Keep Yourself Prepared for Accidents:
Sometimes despite of our best efforts, accidents can occur. So, it is important that you are always ready for such an eventuality. Always keep your cell phone charged when working with wood working tools. Who is the person nearest to you who can come to your rescue? In is even better to make it a rule to never work alone in the woodshop. Always have an extensive first aid kit within your reach in the wood workshop. You should know the basic first-aid techniques, should you ever need to dress up your own injuries. In case, you face a serious accident always call 911.
So, these were the top ten essential safety rules that one should always follow when working with wood working tools. Remember accidents in woodshops are not always a result of circumstances, but are mostly consequences of the woodworker’s failure to adhere to safety norms.