Shop safety

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.
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If you have a sub-panel feeding the shop, it might be easier to put a lockable switch on the line feeding the panel.
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Steve wrote:

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.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Steve wrote:

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 individually.
J.

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I have a subpanel I installed in a closet under the basement steps. Children don't come into my home, but I could add a lock to the closet door after cutting off the electricity.
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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.
Good luck Rob

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Rob Stokes wrote:

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.
Scott
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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
Jums
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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 we survived. 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. Dave

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Just rewire your circuits into a separate box and put a padlock on it. harrym

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Put in a main power switch. shuts them all down from one location.

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"Gren" wrote ...

Know the feeling.

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.
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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"?...
FEAR
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.
Mike
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<<snip>>

Sorry, Scott, I didn't realize that I was getting off quickly...or slowly, for that matter.
I'll try to dial it back.
Mike
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<<snip>>

Nine??? Hell, you want OLD...mine will be 35 this year!
And I'm NOT old! REALLY...I'm not! I'm only going to be 43 myself!
(feeling a tad, ummmm...not young?)
Mike
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The Davenports wrote:

Well, when you get some lady pregnant at the tender age of 8 I guess it makes life tough, huh? ;)
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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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.
Barry
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