In this post, I will talk about woodworking safety. As someone who works in the woodworking space, it amazes me how many woodworkers (the more experienced ones included) ignore or don’t even know about what it takes to be safe while working with wood.
This goes way beyond wearing the appropriate gloves to protect hands and fingers.
I will talk about the safety measures in a minute.
But first, I need to open your eyes to some important issues
While there are some precautions to follow with hand tools, woodworking machines have been designed to chop, cut, slice, shave and drill materials that are way harder than the human skin.
So at this point, you might be thinking to yourself: this sounds like a scene from a horror movie!
This is exactly why it’s important to keep in mind that if any of these machines is handled carelessly, they can pose harm and be very dangerous, to say the least.
But don’t just take my word for it!
You might have noticed the common topics that come up where woodworkers are gathered; more stories about near-misses and accidents.
While accidents can happen, they are often the embarrassed person’s nice way of saying: “I was careless!"
The basic requirement expected of good craftsmanship is the consciousness of safety.
So what are the safety measure that you should keep in mind while working with wood, either with hand or machines tools?
Here are a couple of the obvious (but very important) ones.
Because this will help keep dust and splinters from entering into your eyes. There are safety goggles or glasses you can lay your hands on.
Hearing protectors will protect your ears from exposure to noise, you can make use of padded earmuffs and earplugs; this will help you avoid long-term damage when handling noisy power tools.
The other one is goggles.
Safety goggles are made of rigid lenses surrounded by soft frames that help cover the contour on your face.
They have been designed to prevent condensation, and can also be worn over other prescription eye glasses.
And then, of course, there are the less obvious ones
Your workshop area must be clean so that you won’t make the mistake of tripping over an extension cord or a scrap of wood at any time.
Also, if you have long hair, make sure to cover and tip it up.
Your clothing shouldn’t be a loose fitting one, and there shouldn’t be any jewelry attached to your body.
This is to avoid any material getting caught up in the machines, which in turn might throw you towards the blades or any other sharp material that may be around.
The next one should really go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t be careful with this one.
Avoid the use of machinery after consumption of alcohol (no matter how little it may be) or when you’re completely stressed out and obviously need rest.
You shouldn’t increase the odds of an accident happening, especially when you know that the machines you’re handling will be more dangerous when you are not fully alert.
Your focus should always be on what you’re doing; you can take a break anytime you’re feeling stressed or weak.
The chance of having an accident is high in the case where you keep doing the same thing over and over again.
If for any reason you were tired, try walking away for some time to ease the load on your mind.
Get help if you’re not sure or comfortable about a cut you’re about to make, or if you feel it’s not so safe.
Also, your saw blades must be sharp at all time; you might less control over wood if you push harder. This will help avoid slips or loss of fingers.
But it doesn’t stop here
Even after you considered all necessary precautions, you should always be prepared for accidents.
While you’re avoiding the things that might cause an accident, keep the following questions in mind:
Ok, let’s take a quick break to watch the below funny video before we continue
Funny, eh? 🙂
Alright, let’s continue…
If by any chance you’re engaged in a serious accident, your friend shouldn’t be the next in line to call; it’s better to call 911 as they’ll be able to handle the situation if you go into shock on the way to the nearest hospital.
If you lose any of your fingers, be sure to take it along to the hospital in case if it can be reattached.
But there’s more to mention here
Breathing in the dust, especially the ones coming from wood can be carcinogenic, toxic and allergenic.
Sawdust can be very harmful, it has been known to cause repertory problems and skin rashes.
Also, reports have shown that woodworkers have high chances of having nasal cancers.
No matter how little the dust may be, it can clog and aggravate allergies, so it’s important that you have a mask on anytime you want to make dust, whether it’s from sweeping the floor, sandpaper or machinery.
Speaking of masks,
There are numerous designs of masks, ranging from elastic strap thin paper to thick rubber that has replaceable fume-proof filter.
I wouldn’t advise you going for the heavy-duty masks, so there won’t be a need choosing between efficiency and comfort here.
Needless to say
Some finishes and solvents used in furniture finishing can also be allergenic, carcinogenic and toxic.
Not to mention petroleum distillates in naphtha, benzene, and commercial oil finishes, and all of these are contaminants.
So, here’s the thing
Get yourself a pair of rubber gloves since some of these solvents are toxic if they end up in contact with the human body, or if you mistakenly breathe it in.
Accidents often occur in an instant, especially when you’re handling power tools.
The results at the end of the day can be life- threatening or irreversible.
Certain things to put in place to avoid risks are very simple; consider the capabilities and dangers behind the tools you’re handling, think before you act, and know how to make use of the tools in a safe way.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
It’s important that you plan your work well, so there wouldn’t be a problem if you’re moving heavy materials/ objects.
Tools operations and maintenance should be of high standards. Avoid using dull bits or blades.
Other safety devices and guards should be removed, with clutter and debris cleared off from your work area.