What should you avoid when working with woodworking machines?
Do not wear loose clothing, work gloves, neckties, rings, bracelets or other jewellery that can become entangled with moving parts.
Avoid awkward operations and hand positions where a sudden slip could cause your hand to move into the cutting tool or blade.
Do not remove sawdust or cuttings from the cutting head by hand while a machine is running. Use a stick or brush when the machine has stopped moving.
Do not use compressed air to remove sawdust, turnings, etc. from machines or clothing.
Do not leave machines running unattended (unless they are designed and intended to be operated while unattended). Do not leave a machine until the power off is turned off and the machine comes to a complete stop.
Do not try to free a stalled blade before turning the power off.
Do not distract or startle an operator while he or she is using woodworking equipment.
Horse play should be prohibited. It can lead to injuries.
While a good start, let me add a few of my own.
1. Sanders bite hard. Keep your fingers away from the belt.
2. Lathe chucks bite hard!!! It takes just a few seconds for the lathe to
spin down, you can clean the ways off then. (I know wood lathes don't
care too much about clean ways, but I was using a small metal lathe at
the time. Many of us are builders and not strictly woodworkers, so it's
3. Reaction wood does so fast! Better change your shorts... Better yet,
if you start to see wood reacting or twisting as you cut stop the cut
while it's still safe.
4. Screwdrivers bite hard! Toss inferior screws or bits that aren't
holding securely. Consider bits disposable and do so.
4a. Cheap hardware store screws are usually superior to included screws
in manufactured products.
5. Lathes throw material AT YOU. Wear a face shield, not just safety
6. Lock the door you're working behind. Someone will want to come
7. Keep your hands in a safe position and wait for the saw to spindown.
You start to move or walk around, you risk a momentary lapse that
involves your hand and the blade.
8. Turn the grinder on and walk away. I saw pictures of a cracked
grinding wheel exploding, and decided I didn't want to be anywhere near
if it happens.
There's more, like no drinks (not even water) in the work area, but these
are some of the biggies.
...and blowing debris into your skin.
On a related note, my father tells a story about when he was a kid working
after school doing clean up in a blouse factory... One day instead of
vacuuming all the machines he figured it would be faster to put the hose on
the exhaust side and blow the debris off the machines. That did not go over
well as he blew debris into the motors, bearings, etc. ;~)
Many of the suggestions seem to have come from a metal working
background. Blowing chips off with compressed air is a big no-no when
you're dealing with metal working machines, as you can blow metal chips
under things like table slides and totally screw them up.
Compressed air is also potentially hazardous when used to remove dust
from people, as it can drive pieces into the skin. Even a tiny bit of
compressed air can be hazardous. (It still gets done an awful lot.)
In all the post, I do not see the most important. Don't turn off your
brain. You must treat every operation you do as if it was the first
time you did the operation and put all of the thought into as when you
first did it.
Several years I was ripping a piece of wood to use as trim on a mirror.
I had all of the safe guards in place but nearly cut the end of my
finger off. Why? I did a series of stupid things.
First stupid thing, I set the out feed to the width of the piece that I
was wanted to cut not the width of the board I was ripping.
Second stupid thing, I tried to adjust the outfeed with the saw running.
Third stupid thing I tried to put the board back over the blade, again
with the saw running.
Fortunately I did one thing right and had the blade set so only about
3/8 of an inch was showing above the board, or I could have lost the
finger, and not just trim the skin off the end which was sewed back on.
Some time we are more lucky that smart.
I would change that to "most times".
Had a friend years ago that was a foreman over several jobs, someone
on a job, or maybe it was all of them, really got his dander up, he
was chewing them all out as he was walking backward to leave the roof.
You guessed it, he was so spitting angry that he walked right off the
roof, then next thing they saw as they ran in his direction, was him
climbing back up the ladder still ragging on them. Everyone started
laughing, mostly out of relief for him, which at first set him off
more, until he realized what just happened.
That story went all around the county, one way or another. He didn't
even sprain an ankle, unbelievable.
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