Woodworking projects tend to be exciting but dangerous at the same time. There are a lot of sharp tools and equipment involved that can hurt not only you but also others working alongside. This is why safety is a primary concern whether you are a novice woodworker or a seasoned professional.
Being in a shop or working on some wood projects in your home exposes you to the same threats. To ensure that you complete your projects without hurting yourself requires following basic safety rules. With that said, we have brought you some woodworking safety tips to consider.
Basic Woodworking Safety Tips
Wear Safety Glasses and Gear
When it comes to woodworking projects, nearly every part of your body is utilized. Your eyes being the primary concern require ensuring that you wear safety glasses for woodworking. If you choose to ignore wearing them, it would be hard to work using your fingers and toes.
The aim is to keep the byproducts from entering the eyes. However, that is not all. Since your entire body including fingers and toes are exposed to the tools and machines as well, it is important that you wear proper safety gear. Typically, woodworkers wear PPE with safety glasses. This ensures that the body is protected from sharp objects and items.
Furthermore, working on woodworking projects can take hours during the day. This can hurt your ears too. Therefore, you should insert earmuffs or earplugs to prevent your ears from being hurt due to loud noise created by the machines and tools.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Wearing appropriate clothing does not mean that you choose to wear whatever you desire. Infact, there are strict laws in some countries regulating and governing workers wearing proper safety suits. General woodworking safety rules state that your personal protection kit should not present a danger on its own.
This means that loose or shaggy clothes can become stuck in machines pulling the worker and causing serious injuries. There have been many incidents in the past where machines have literally pulled the workers in and left them amputated.
As a result, you would want to wear something comfortable yet protective and secure. In addition to wearing jeans and t-shirts, you should also consider wearing proper footwear and gloves.
Avoid Wearing Jewelry
Similar to loose clothes and baggy pants being caught in machines, hanging chains or dangling pendants also pose the same type of threat or even worse for that matter. While clothes can easily be torn to free a worker caught in a blade or machine but jewelry cannot be easily cut or taken apart.
However, if jewelry is something you cannot live without, make sure that you tuck them properly inside your shirt or it would be best if you remove them and wear them once your shift is finished. Moreover, if you are wearing a watch or a ring, do consider it as well and take it off if you have even the slightest doubt.
Disconnect Power When Changing Blades or BITS
Changing blades or other bits can be extremely dangerous even if you are not using the machine and it is plugged-in. A machine plugged-in means that it is energized and will expend its power as soon as any button is slightly pressed. This also means that you are easily vulnerable while changing the blades or bits.
While changing the blades or any other component, make sure that you not only switch it off using the power button but also disconnect the chord. The aim is to completely de-energize your tool before working on it. The reason being that some components can store electric charges. Therefore, even if it has been a while since the machine was turned off, it can still run for a few seconds.
Don’t Use Drugs or Alcohol
Using drugs or alcohol while working on a woodworking machine calls for trouble. However, it’s surprising to see the number of people ignoring and deciding to pick up woodworking projects. In such a case, even if you are wearing safety gear for woodworking, it will be of no use since alcohol can make you lose control of yourself.
Woodworking projects should only be worked on when you are fresh. A worker popping anti-depressant pills or painkillers is bound to lose his mind several hours into the work. Such acts have led to deaths in the past, meaning you should not mix them with woodworking.
Check Wood for Nails
Reclaimed wood is a highly sought-after commodity. There is something about aged wood that makes people love it. Perhaps it is the color and feel of the wood. But, for the woodworker reclaimed wood can be a serious threat especially if nails are lurking inside.
If you are using reclaimed wood to work on a new project, always make sure that you check it for nails or any other sharp objects that might hurt you during the process. These things can pop out of nowhere and in the worst cases hit the eyes. To ensure that the wood you are using does not have any nails, invest in a metal detector.
Never Work When You Are Tired
Being tired while working on a woodworking project is another form of impairment. You can easily lose focus and sense of observation. In such cases, even your best woodworking safety kit won’t be able to prevent injuries from coming your way. Drowsiness and fatigue slow your thought process and hinder judgment.
It is the same case with drug or alcohol use mentioned earlier. If you are feeling tired, ask yourself whether you are conscious enough to work on complex projects. If not, it is better to work on relatively simple tasks. Forcing yourself to work and standing in harm’s way is simply not worth it.
Use-Well Maintained Tools
Apart from wearing safety kits and following safety protocols, what makes you a good woodworker is regular maintenance of your tools. You have invested quite a lot in your tool collection and it is only right that you look after them.
Properly maintained tools last and perform longer and are safer as well. Otherwise, you will keep on breaking your bank by replacing tools and constantly exposing yourself to danger.
The above-mentioned safety tips for woodworking projects are easy to follow and implement. Injuries can occur to the most professional woodworkers out there and not everyone gets a second chance to work again. Therefore, wearing safety kits and following the basic safety protocols not only protect you but also your co-workers and family members. Plus, always work with a fresh mind and body. And, when in doubt, take a day off.