There are a number of things
that every wood worker needs to know when they are working
with power tools
(to a lessor extent, hand tools). Some things are plainly
obvious but others are often overlooked.
On the serious side, planning ahead may be what save
your life. Some of the power tools available are
very powerful and often rotate at extremely high speeds.
Hard carbide has very little trouble with soft flesh.
I have worked in remote areas where it was several hours
to the hospital and safety was an absolute priority.
Remember what might be obvious now may become very clouded
when injured and you are in shock.
The top ten list below (not necessarily in order of
importance) will greatly reduce the chance of injury.
- Read the instruction manuals that come with the power
tools that you buy and learn about the tool. There
is always information specific to the safe
operation and other precautions associated with that
tool. After all the manufacturer know their tools
better then anyone.
- Wear ear, eye and if needed face protection. This
is obvious, for face and eye's, remember hard steel,
flesh. Hearing protection is often forgotten because
it is such a gradual change. The simple fact is that
running wood working tools for long durations without
hearing protection is going to reduce your hearing.
- Do Not wear loose clothing or have long hair hanging
free. This can result in severe injury if hair or clothing
gets caught in the machine. People have been scalped
from industrial machinery by not taking the right precautions.
- Keeping the shop neat and tidy will reduce the chance
of slip and fall accidents. Lot of the time while in
the shop you are focused on the task at hand and not
realize where your feet are. Always sweep up saw dust
or scraps or better yet install a dust collection system
to collect the wood debris from the tools and dispose
- Keep your power tools in good working order
especially saw blades. The sharper a saw blade is the
it take the tool to perform the cut and this reduces
the effort you need to use to feed the wood through
the tool. If you are having to force a piece of wood
a table saw it increases the chance of you slipping
and injuring yourself.
- Do Not work in your shop if your have been drinking
or taking medication. Both can alter your perception
and increase the likely hood of an injury.
- Prepare for the worst. Remember after you are injure
is too late to be trying to think of what to do. The
adrenalin will be flowing and the chance of shock is
- Before you get injured post a plan in your shop for
dealing with an emergency. It should have the numbers
for an ambulance as well as a neighbor or a friend
that can assist you if needed. Also, have a phone in
shop with an emergency number set to speed dial.
- Have a fully stocked first aid kit in your shop to
deal with any emergencies and some knowledge of how
an injury if needed.
- Focus of the task. It is not a good idea to work
in the shop when your mind is distracted. This can
to inattention and accidents. It is ok to relax and
unwind in the shop but not while the tools are turned
- Unplug tools when not in use or when changing attachments
and servicing. It is also a good idea to lock out your
power in your shop when you are not using it. This
will prevent children from accidentally turning on
and injuring themselves.