I have two small children that love to visit me in my workshop. My worry
has always been that one day they may visit the shop when I'm not there and
some how turn on a machine and feed their hands in. Right now I keep the
door locked and ALWAYS unplug the machines.
I want to add another level of safety by putting onoff / key switch
controllers on all the machines but mounted on the wall well out of the
reach of any child.
Has anyone done something like this and if so where is a good place to
purchase the equipment.
Or simply throw the main in the subpanel or the appropriate breakers in
the main box and put a padlock on the box. I find that having lots of
switches leads to not turning all of them off for whatever reasons. Any
borg or electrical supply house should have the stuff you might need.
I agree, this is the way to go. Wire up a lockable sub-panel for the
circuits in your shop. Locking out power is the surest way of insuring
the machinery cannot be operated. It will probably be easier and
cheaper (as well as work better) do to this than to key each machine
Couple of thoughts...
Assuming you have a sub-panel in the shop, you could get a locking cover (or
add a traditional pad lock) making sure you kill the breakers when you leave
and lock the panel behind you. This way you don't have to shut power to the
whole panel and can leave lighting etc. circuits on.
If that doesn't work, you can get standard "safety switches" manufactured by
companies such as Square-D etc. You can route the feed to a specific circuit
through these and shut them off, locking them out with a pad lock as needed.
You can also get industrial switching components (switches, key switches,
pilot lights etc) that can be made into a panel but this can get costly in a
hurry (this would be the coolest *looking* option though!).
Go down to your local electrical wholesaler (NOT...Home Depot or other
building center) and explain what you're trying to do. This requirement may
be new to you, but not to them and I'm pretty sure they'll come up with
something for you.
I know of a retail furniture store that did exactly this every night for
over 20 years and never had a problem. Had an electrician tell me one
time that it's actually a good idea to cycle them at least once a
month..something about keeping them freed up, too many years have gone
by to remember exactly what he said.
An unkind remark is like a killing frost. No matter how much it warms
up later, the damage remains.
All the ideas mentioned are good ones. One other thing I would mention is
to stop the access to the shop as well. I lock on the door at a level too
high for them to reach would help as well.
One other thing I would recommend is to educate them. Even if they had made
access and the power was off, plugging in power tools, access to scary sharp
chisels, and just a TS blade not spinning could mangle little fingers. I
don't know how old these little "1040 deductions" are - but it would never
be too early to teach them.
Just a thought
My father had a big switch that was originally on a trolley. He used it to
cut power to all the machines so that "the boys" would not get into trouble
with the machinery whe he was not around. Of course we found that by
standing on a chair and hitting the switch lever with a hammer, everything
was on. I used the bandsaw on one of these outings and cut half an inch
into the length of my finger. Never a word, just bandage and hope. Somehow
I guess the point is that no matter what steps are taken, little kids
are attracted to the machines. Its probably better to educate them in the
ways of safety than to prohibit.
I just bought a lock to fit my subpanel and I throw the main breaker and
lock it off. All the suitable switches I found were either not rated for my
power or way too much money. Of course I said this on the wreck before and
was admonished for improper use of a breaker, but it works for me.
Now, I've read all the replies to this post and the one thing that no one
brought up is the same way my father kept me safe in the shop when I was,
shall we say "short"?...
Now, my father never once beat me...a spanking or three on occasion, but
never anything worse than that, but I was not in fear of my father, but in
fear of his disappointment in me for doing something that he told me not to.
I am the youngest of 4 kids and dad NEVER locked his machines and never
needed to...we knew better. And it worked for the next generation, too...I
never locked or hid anything from my step-son...he believed me when I told
him that very bad things would happen...if not from the tools, then from me.
Neither of us needed therapy to "recover" from being raised with a firm
hand. Oh, and my step-son actually did better than me...I never had to
punish him for anything shop related.
I'll get off my soap-box now and have a beer.
Can you kill the power at the breaker(s)? If nothing else is on your
shop circuits, this may be a lot cheaper than replacing every switch,
even if you had to rehome the tool circuits to a small sub panel. You
could then lock the sub panel, if you needed even more security.
Also, many of my tools have switches with removable paddles. Pull out
the paddles, and the switch can't be activated. Look closely, some of
your tools may already be equipped this way.
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