Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wood shop safety…

Wood shop safety is often a boring, but extremely important topic when discussing power tools and hand tools. Safe practices in the shop or on the job site not only preserve both life and limb, but taking the time to be safe frequently means less mistakes which leads to less wasted materials.

I learned what I consider to be the most important safety rule from my high school wood shop teacher. His simple rule was “to always use common sense and good judgment”. While this rule seems quite obvious, it is amazing how many people fail to integrate it into their mentality. My father-in-law is doctor and relayed the following story to me. It illustrates my point. He had a case where a maintenance man who worked at a factory was trying to repair something with super glue. The man took the proper precaution of wearing gloves as many of us know firsthand how these glues bond skin instantly. The problem began when he tried to start using the glue and found the tip of the bottle to be clogged. The man pointed the bottle of super glue towards himself and used the tip of his utility knife to try and clear the clog. While working the knife, he also squeezed the bottle to help clear the dried glue faster. The clog came loose and it, along with some super glue, shot out of the bottle and hit the man in the eyes. By the time the man got to the hospital it was too late. The glue had completely destroyed his eyes. Obviously this tragic incident is extreme, but it also shows how the failure to use common sense and good judgment can result in dire consequences from even a seemingly harmless action.

Someone that exhibits common sense and good judgment ALWAYS does the following:

-Wears safety devices to protect their eyes, ears, and lungs
-Uses push sticks and safety blocks to keep their hands away from moving blades and cutter-heads
-Never wears loose clothing, jewelry, or sandals in the shop and ties back long hair
-Unplugs tools before changing bits or blades
-Reads and understands all instruction manuals
-Never works under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while fatigued
-Uses the right tool for the right job
-Never modifies their tools by removing safety guards
-Never rushes or takes dangerous short cuts
-Does not allow distractions in the shop

This is only a short list of common sense and good judgment specifics. Each tool and each scenario has its own unique set of rules that will keep both you and your shop-mates safe. Be sure to integrate the common sense, good judgment mentality into your work practices. Remember if a little super glue can do so much damage to one life, what can a high powered table saw or compound mitre saw do in the blink of a careless eye?

One last thing, many of us average guys have a work shop in our garage or basement and many of us have children as well. Be sure to keep these tools and the various chemicals we use (glue, stain, varnish, etc) out of their hands. Locked doors or locking cabinets are a necessity as these tools are dangerous or deadly in little hands.

1 comment:

Sabine said...

People should read this.