Safety In The Work Shop
How To Keep Yourself And Others Safe
Any good crafts person understands that, in order to run a productive and enjoyable workshop, you need to keep yourself safe.
Keep all tools maintained properly, wear all recommended safety equipment, and be certain that anyone entering your shop does the same.
And you will be rewarded by a lifetime of enjoyable and safe work.
What to Wear
When using power tools, hearing protection is a must. Foam ear inserts are usually adequate, but headphones are better, and easier to take on and off.
Wear safety glasses with side guards at all times, particularly when using table saws or routers.
Wear a quality respirator for working with finishes and a dust mask when creating dust. Coveralls are useful for protecting clothing.
Always keep power tools sharp and well maintained. A dull power tool is far more dangerous because it increases the risk of kickback and jamming.
Never get your hand near a blade or any cutting or drilling element without first unplugging the tool.
If there are other people working in the shop, lock out the plug by putting a locking plastic casing over the plug. Lock it and keep the key, so that no one can be injured by the tool.
Keep areas around power tools clean and tidy and free of scrap wood, excessive dust and clutter.
For small shops, this can be a portable blower connected to one tool at a time.
Larger shops need a system of pipes that connect to a central blower.
Ideally, the shop also should have an air purification system that constantly cycles and filters the ambient air in the shop to remove dust not caught by the blower.
Safety in Organization
Most injuries happen either to people who are new to what they are doing, or to craftspeople who are trying something they haven't done before.
Developing repetitive systems of operation reduces the risk of injury.
For example, when ripping lumber on a table saw, always go through the same steps in the same manner: set fence width, turn on saw, pick up board, etc.
Keep records of tool maintenance and blade replacement.
All these things increase control of the environment and directly decrease the risk of injury.
Make sure all visitors to the shop have proper safety equipment and are briefed on safety rules. Animals and small children should not be allowed into the shop.
Particularly in school shops with large numbers of children or teenagers, maintaining a controlled environment is essential. Students need to be made aware of shop dangers before they learn the hard way.