There is no doubt that woodworking can be both a challenging and enjoyable pastime for a lot of people and for others it is actually a profession. Due to the nature of most woodworking projects and the type of equipment being used, it does come with some risk factors in terms of safety, when you consider the sharp hand tools, electrical equipment and power machinery in use.
There are many areas that should be approached with caution when undertaking your woodworking projects and so it is important to understand what the risks are and how they can be limited.
You should always put safety first when working on a project, regardless of what task you are undertaking at the time.
This is a list of hazards and potential injuries to be looked out for.
1) Inadequate Machine Maintenance
Never skimp on maintaining your machinery. With moving parts such as saw blades and drills often rotating at good speed you can be injured seriously if a part comes loose and flies off and into your body. Always ensure you wear protective clothing, eye and ear protection to negate any potential injury.
2) Inattention When Using a Saw
Cuts are probably the most common woodworking injury, often due to inattention or loss of concentration and these can occur if you slip or carelessly use a chisel, saw, router or blade. Always use protective gloves and take your time when using this equipment as it only takes a split second to create a harmful situation for yourself. If a distraction is occurring, stop what you are doing until the distraction is removed, to avoid the possibility of serious injury.
3) Lack of Good Eye Protection
Eye injuries are also very common in the woodworking workshop and have the potential to be permanently damaging. Wood splinters, metal fragments and sparks can all damage eyes either temporarily or permanently. Always wear safety goggles while involved in a woodworking project.
There can be toxic substances in many types of treated wood, glues, resins, varnishes, paints and sealing products. In the course of working with these products it is likely you will be exposed to inhalation of them. Adequate ventilation like an extractor fan, breathing apparatus or an open door or window are sensible precautions, as often these fumes are unseen. It is important to identify likely sources of fumes prior to embarking on your woodworking project.
5) Unknown Allergens.
This can be unseen and even unknown as often woodworkers don’t know that they are allergic to a type of wood or product until they come into contact with it, cut into it or inhale the dust. If you know you have allergic reactions to anything in the workshop, try to avoid using it, or at least have the correct protection to ensure your safety.
6) Working with Electricity
It can be dangerous working with power tools and certain situations are more dangerous than others. Be sure there is no moisture or water present near power tools or machinery. Also ensure you are careful when you plug-in power tools and again when you unplug them. Ensure all tools are well maintained, checked regularly and do not have any exposed wire. If you are ever concerned the safety of a power tool, have it checked or even replace it.
7) Fire Hazards
There are always plenty of potential fire hazards in a woodworking workshop. With plenty of dry sawdust, sparks can shoot out of an outlet as a result of grinding, drilling or sawing which could easily result in a fire in your workshop. Always have smoke detectors in working order and keep oily rags, solvents, and finishing chemicals stored properly and away from any likely source of sparks. And remember to always keep a fire extinguisher at the ready.