In our blog, we promote DIY and woodworking and we provide our readers with useful tips for their hobby.
Therefore, we think it is time to cover another important area, besides the engaging projects and powerful tools that we usually introduce: Woodworking safety!
Woodworkers may be aware of the risks and dangers of their profession, but unexpected risks and accidents still occur. Every day, they are likely to be exposed to fungi, adhesives, oils, noise, and chemical additives among others.
However, DIYers might not be aware of the risks. There are no safety education or regular training requirements for hobby woodworkers. Nevertheless, accidents still happen to DIYers, unfortunately.
Therefore, we feel it is time that we should refresh and share a few fundamental woodworking safety tips with you:
Risks You Might Not Think Of
Fine Woodworking Winter 1977 issue revealed that allergies, respiratory problems, toxic woods, and skin irritation might root from the woodwork. This is why an ongoing campaign on woodworking safety is often enforced to craftsmen.
If you consider the five common failures in home improvement, you will be aware that even the simplest mistake of not completing supplies is also an issue. Most likely, the actual work when dealing with furnishings, wood, steel, or even paint will make you more vulnerable to risks. To avoid this kind of issues with woodwork, follow these points:
Never Forget Your Safety Gear
The essential equipment for safe woodworking consists at least of:
- Disposal plastic gloves,
- safety glasses,
- ear protection,
- knee pads, and
- a mask
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For certain projects, you might need additional safety equipment, e.g. disposable clothes or protective footwear.
Be aware that good tools do not necessarily remove any risks: Even if you have a great miter saw or other related equipment, it is always necessary to wear your safety accessories. It may be an obvious rule, but many DIYers still forget (or ignore) how important it is – sometimes followed by a bad outcome.
As mentioned before, gloves, ear protection, goggles, and a dust mask will be useful for your field to prevent any accidents or mitigate their impact. You should also wear the right clothes and no accessories at all when doing woodworking.
No Woodworking under Influence
It seems quite obvious that is dangerous to do woodworking while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Nevertheless, work- or hobby-related accidents under influence happen indeed. For professional workers, there is a clear rule: Working with machines or tools only sober. This has been implemented in the Health and Safety Legislation, which stipulates that an employee should ascertain that he or she is not intoxicated, as this may endanger himself/herself and other people.
Set Up a Good Lighting
To make sure that you are able to control your woodworking toos correctly, your place needs a good lighting. It is also necessary that the light will not blind your eyes when you are working with wood. Reflections or glare should be avoided as well as this can increase the risk of mistakes and accidents.
Use One Extension Cord for All Power Tools
As you will likely use different tools within one working session, you should use one single extension heavy-duty cord for all of them. If you use, for instance, a wood router together with a sander, both should be plugged in the same heavy-duty extension cord.
This will ensure that you do not leave any tools accidentally powered on without realizing it.
Furthermore, having several wires in a workshop can cause trips as well as confusion when it comes to plugging tools in and out.
Disconnecting Before Changing Blades
If your work comprises of cutting wood, you should be familiar with the ground rule for handling this equipment: Disconnect the power prior to changing blades, discs or bits!
The Consumer Product Safety Commission found out that a comparatively safe power tool like a table saws injured over 67,000 woodworkers only in 2013. Would you have considered a table saw as a source of increased risks?
Incidents like these are grave for the affected workers and their families. However, they also serves as a warning for other woodworkers and for us a DIYers that handling any tool requires precaution and thoroughness all the time.
Never Remove Cut-Offs by Hand
By impulse, you might try to remove wood cut-offs by hand when sawing chunks of wood. However, you should avoid this reflex until the blade has finished stopped rotating.
In addition, machines and tools can also have malfunctions. Try to avoid putting your hands near to their blades when they are plugged-in.
As a safe but quick work-around, you can use a stick or wood chunk to carefully remove cut-offs, rather than exposing your hand to any risk.
Do Not Use Dull Tools
Always ensure that your cutting tools are sharp to deliver quick and efficient cuts. Otherwise, working with a dull tool is not only inconvenient and slow. It will also have a risk of a kickback or a work piece being stuck to a blade.
Keep the Working Area and Your Tools and Equipment Clean
Besides having a well-lit working environment, you should ensure that it is free from clutter. Spilled liquids should also be wiped off immediately to avoid a slippery floor or unintended chemical reactions if it gets in contact with other liquids. Trips, falls, and slips can be prevented if some ground rules on cleanliness are followed.
Make sure that you clean tools and equipments immediately after their use. This will protect your equipment but also yourself – a cloth used for applying boiled linseed oil, for instance, can ignite without any external trigger if it is not cleaned in water immediately after its use.
If you follow the woodworking safety tips shared above and stay concious of the risks of any DIY projects, you should be able to avoid most of the risks. While professional workers can refer to a company policy on work safety, hobby woodworkers cannot – it is solely your responsibility to stay safe!
As a first step, make sure that you have the right equipment! Otherwise, compare prices and get the best safety equipment on Amazon now.
Co-Author Bio: Anthony is a Home Improvement DIYer, who is interested in different projects of Home Improvement. He blogs at Equipment Area, where he shares tips, guides and reviews of different tools around the house.
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