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Safety is often just common sense, but we tend to forget safety when we are in a hurry, when we are distracted or tired, or when we only have to make that one cut on the table saw. These are some of the tips I want you to consider. Print them, hang them in your workshop, go over them when you start working in the shop, and make an honest review when you are done that day to see where you did not follow the safety rules.

  1. Alertness -- Don't work in the workshop when you are tired, or when other folks -- especially children -- are in the workshop who can distract you. If it does not feel right then trust your gut feeling; go sit in that easy chair and read a book instead.
  2. Know tools -- Read and understand the instructions that come with your tools. Know how to use each tool properly. Regularly verify the proper adjustment(s) of your tools.
  3. Plan ahead -- Plan your work carefully. Think ahead how to do a task and how to minimize any possible risks. Clamp down your work piece.
  4. Lighting -- Ensure good lighting on your work. It is less tiring and helps you do a more accurate job.
  5. Ventilation -- Use a dust collection system and/or air filtration system and/or an air extraction fan to the outside to keep the workshop well ventilated and clean. This will also keep dust and smells away from the rest of the house in case of an in-house workshop.
  6. Electrical protection -- Ensure that all powertools are double insulated and/or properly grounded.
  7. Personal protection -- Wear safety glasses and/or safety goggles. Wear ear protection when using powertools. Wear safety shoes. I wear Dutch wooden shoes in the shop. Remove rings, necklaces and ties. Don't wear loose fitting clothes. Unplug tool before changing blades and bits, and verify that everything is fastened properly and cleared for operation before plugging in again.
  8. Sharp tools -- Make sure that all cutting tools are absolutely sharp, such as saw blades, router bits, planer bits, chisels, drill bits and knifes. Sharp tools prevent injuries.
  9. Tidiness -- The workshop should be tidy at all times. Put tools away when not in use. Run extension cords such that you cannot trip over them. Ensure sufficient space around you.
  10. Close shop -- Disconnect all powertools and remove safety keys when done. Clean the workshop. It is so much nicer to start the next day in a clean place.

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Updated: 3-Feb-2010 23:48 EST -- Copyright © 2003-2017 Pieter van Vliet. All rights reserved.
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