Work safely with wood
Woodworking equipment can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly or if proper safeguards are not in place. Common injuries include lacerations, amputations, severed fingers and blindness. Additionally, wood dust can contain hazardous chemicals, which may cause skin and respiratory diseases.
The following tips, provided by OSHA, can help workers stay safe when woodworking:
- Use the right equipment. Operate machines only for work specified by the machine manufacturer.(For example, only mount blades, cutter heads or collars on machine arbors that have been properly sized and shaped to fit these parts.)
- Train workers. On any given machine a worker is operating, he or she should understand all of the controls, know how to stop the equipment in case of an emergency, and be trained on the safety procedures for special setups. Additionally, OSHA notes that employees should be able to demonstrate their ability to run the machine with all safety mechanisms in place.
- Regularly inspect equipment. Keep records of all inspections to help ensure corrective action will be taken, operators on all shifts are made aware of any potential danger, and that any problems can be detected and resolved as quickly as possible.
- Practice caution. Workers should not operate woodworking equipment if the guard or any other safety device is not working properly.
Other tips include:
- Remove cracked or damaged blades from service.
- Clean saws with a brush. Do not clean with bare hands or while the machine is running.
- Never leave a machine unattended in the “on” position.
- Keep floors free of debris, dust and protruding nails that could cause trips.
- Do not allow workers to wear loose clothes when operating woodworking machinery.