OSHA Safety Manuals | Woodworking Tool Safety
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Woodworking Tool Safety

Woodworking Tool Safety

Woodworking Tool Safety

Woodworkers use power tools such as saws, drills, routers, planers, sanders, and lathes along with hand tools such as chisels, carvers, and augers to shape wood into functional and artistic objects. While wood crafting, woodworkers need to keep safety in mind.

Get training on the power and hand tools that you work with on the job. Read the power tool manuals and make sure that you understand and follow the instructions. Always inspect your tools before each use. Make sure that power cords are in good shape with proper grounding. Tag-out, discard, or repair the tools if they are not in good working order. Make sure that cutting blades and surfaces are clean and sharp to give you the best control. Conduct periodic maintenance on the tools depending on the amount of use they get.

Always use personal protective equipment. Wear appropriate, close-fitting clothing and tie back long hair for woodworking. Avoid jewelry and loose clothing that could be pulled into moving and rotating parts. Wear slip-resistant footwear to prevent falls. Safety glasses protect your eyes from sawdust and flying objects. Dust masks and a well-ventilated work area protect your lungs from inhaling small wood particles. Hearing protection protects your ears from the noise of the shop. Close-fitting work gloves, when appropriate, can protect your hands when handling materials.

Use safe work practices when woodworking. Think first before you place your materials or your hands near the cutting blade. Pay attention to the cutting blade the entire time until your cut is completed. A distraction while watching television, listening to the radio, or talking to a coworker or customer can lead to a lost finger or hand. Keep your hands away from the blade or moving parts by using push sticks or other guides to move materials into the cutting area.

Always remove nails, burls, or other imperfections and additives that could cause the materials to jam or “kick-back.” Secure your materials to the work surface to avoid having the material and/or the cutting blade slip when you apply pressure to it. If your saw or other machine is resisting the cut, don’t force the material through. Stop and investigate the problem. Always give the power tool time to run down and the blade to completely stop before you try to handle it. Turn the power off completely and lockout-tagout before you clear a jam or clean a machine. Never leave power cutting equipment running while unattended.

Keep your woodworking shop a safe place from slips and bumps with good housekeeping. Make sure that power cords are coiled neatly and out of pathways. Keep your work area clean and clutter-free. Clean up spills immediately. Keep sawdust to a minimum by cleaning regularly through the day.

Use neutral postures and avoid awkward reaches or positions to avoid ergonomic injuries. Rotate your tasks throughout the day and take frequent rest breaks to give your body a rest. If necessary, wear anti-vibration gloves to prevent hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

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