table saw

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Woodworking machine dangers

January 28, 2018

Woodworking machines – with their moving parts and sharp blades – can be extremely dangerous if not used correctly. Amputations, blindness and lacerations are common injuries related to working with these machines.

Because of this, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety states, only properly trained workers should use woodworking machines, and even they should thoroughly read the machine’s owner’s manual before beginning work.

To help employees avoid injuries when woodworking, CCOHS recommends:

  • Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, including safety glasses or goggles, a faceshield, hearing protection, protective footwear, and gloves. (Note: Don’t wear gloves near rotating blades and other moving parts, as they could catch.)
  • Inspecting equipment before use. Ensure it’s properly grounded, guards are in position, and the keys and adjusting wrenches are removed before turning on the power.
  • Making sure all machines have start and stop buttons close to the operator, and that start buttons are protected against unintentional contact.
  • Keeping all cutting tools and blades clean and sharp.
  • Using proper lighting, and ensuring the area around machinery is free from clutter and spills.
  • Having efficient local exhaust ventilation systems to help remove sawdust and wood chips.

Employees should take additional precautions when using woodworking machines, CCOHS states, including:

  • Never wear loose clothing or jewelry, as these items can become entangled in moving parts.
  • Never attempt to clean or dust off a machine when it’s running – use a brush once the machine has stopped.
  • Never leave woodworking machines running unattended.

Further, workers should know that horseplay can lead to injuries and is not allowed – especially around machinery.