Woodworking is a very popular hobby. This means that it is practised not only in commercial facilities, where there would be strict safety rules and standards, it is also being practised in garages and sheds all over the world. However, most essential woodworking tools have sharp, spinning edges. Drills, saw-blades, chainsaws, almost every power tool involved in woodworking demands a certain level of attention and precision. Careless operation of any of those tools can lead to severe injuries.
Why is woodworking safety so important
The dangers of power tools are just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of wood treating chemicals can also be dangerous. The vapours from some can cause respiratory problems, nausea and loss of balance. Others could irritate the skin and cause rashes.
Another thing we need to mention is the large amount of dust being produced. This fine dust can also contain pollutants from the chemicals the wood was pre-treated with and even vapours from the lubricants you may use on some of your tools. Those chemicals can cause throat irritation. Prolonged exposure to such an environment can lead to chronic respiratory illness, asthma, dermatitis and even lung cancer. This is the reason why woodworking dust extractors are mandatory for commercial workshops.
Solid particles can end up in your eyes as well. They can scratch the cornea of your eye which may result in blurry vision. Severe eye injuries during woodworking activities could lead to loss of sight.
This is why establishing proper woodworking safety rules is so important. By following those rules workers can avoid injuries and respiratory diseases.
Essential rules for woodworking safety
The following woodworking safety rules must be implemented by hobby woodworkers, DIYers and professionals.
You should always wear safety equipment
Gloves will protect your skin from irritants in different finishers and paints. Glasses will keep dust particles and other solid pollutants away from your eyes. During some woodworking activities, you have to wear a mask, to stop solid particles hitting your face and prevent you from breathing in dust or toxic fumes. A proper woodworking dust extractor can notably reduce the amounts of dust in your working environment.
Appropriate working clothes
The clothes you wear should not only be comfortable, but it should also protect you. Steel toe boots will keep your feet safe from any falling lumber or tools. Your clothes should not be loose and there should not be any hanging pieces that could catch in rotating tools.
Best practices for your tools and safety
Always make sure you have disconnected your equipment from the power socket, before doing a blade change. You should always use sharp blades and bits while working. Keep your tools clean and if they have any sort of filters on them, change them regularly or at least clean them well. You should also avoid plugging in too many tools into your power circuit to avoid fire hazards, damages to your tools and potential injuries. Use one socket at a time, this will also keep you concentrated while shifting from task to task. The most important woodworking safety tips for working with power tools is never to reach around blades to remove cut-offs.
Carefully inspect your materials and tools before working
You should always check for any metal particles inside your wood material. If your saw-blade hits a steel nail while you are cutting a piece of wood, this could result in a disaster. While inspecting your materials check if they were pretreated with any chemicals and correlate your safety equipment with that fact. Before starting to work, check if your tool seems fine, is it clean, is the blade sharp, etc.
Additional best practices for woodworking safety
Commercial woodworking shops are required to let only well-trained personnel working with the equipment in the shop. It will be best for you to pass some form of training before indulging in woodworking activities. Let an experienced worker show you how to operate with the power tools. Follow their woodworking safety tips when you are on your own later on.
It is always best to keep your working environment tidy and clean. It is one of the bullet points inspectors check for while inspecting commercial woodshops. Keep your hobby area well cleaned and managed. This will always limit the amounts of dust introduced in the air when you start working.
Speaking of dust particles, that is the pollutant present at all stages of woodworking. No matter if you are cutting, shaping, drilling or polishing the wood, there will be a lot of dust. Even when you are treating your finished product, there might be toxic fumes introduced in the air. A lot of woodshops benefit from woodworking dust extractors and proper ventilation systems. Commercial premises are required to have local exhaust and dust extraction filter units fitted. You may consider purchasing one of the woodworking dust extractors available on the market for hobby enthusiasts. Keep in mind that those systems do not overrun the need for proper personal protection and you should still wear a safety mask while sawing for instance.
Need help choosing a dust extraction system for your commercial or hobby needs? Contact our representatives at 01455 616444. They can provide you with guidance for you to make an informed choice and pick the best solution for your needs.