Safety Tips Hand tools

Operate sanding equipment safely

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belt-sander

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Sanding machines can be dangerous if not properly handled. To help stay safe, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety advises workers to read the owner’s manual of the sander and thoroughly understand how to use it. The agency also recommends the following tips for workers operating a sander:

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including safety glasses, goggles or a faceshield, and footwear.
  • Use hearing protection appropriate for the noise level you will be exposed to.
  • Operate sanders with the local exhaust ventilation on.
  • Wear respiratory protection when sanding and during cleanup.
  • Check the sander’s abrasive belts before operating the machine. Replace the belts if they are excessively worn.
  • Keep hands and fingers clear of the sander’s abrasive surface.
  • Use a small piece of stock in a holding device or jig to help prevent hand or finger injuries.
  • Ensure abrasive belts are the same width as the pulley drum used.
  • Drum, disk or belt sanding machines should be enclosed with an exhaust dust hood that covers the entire machine (except for the portion designed for the work feed).

When working with a sander, do not:

  • Sand small or handheld objects.
  • Wear loose clothing or jewelry. Make sure to tie hair back or wear hair protection.
  • Operate a sander unless it is properly guarded and its work rest is correctly placed.