Woodworking is a fun and creative activity to take part in – it doesn’t matter if you’re working on a client’s project or you’re just trying to get things done around the house or office yourself. The only thing more fun than woodworking is woodworking safety rules.
Woodworking safety rules are simple guides that’ll give you a positive and memorable woodworking experience at the same time, improving your efficiency.
These rules are the real lifesavers in our workshops, and they are pretty easy to remember. Knowing these rules exist is the first step to protecting yourself from hazards that might occur.
The main idea behind these safety rules is protection from life-threatening events, and it goes way beyond just protecting yourself.
These rules also make sure you come out whole, without injuries or losing a body part, making it unable for you to work again. Here are some of the most vital woodworking safety rules.
In this post we'll cover:
- Woodworking Safety Rules
- 1. Wear the Right Safety Equipment
- 2. Wear the Right Clothes
- 3. Avoid Distractions
- 4. Wear Hearing Protection
- 5. Never Take in Anything That’ll Affect Your Natural Judgment
- 6. Make Sure You Have Proper Lighting
- 7. Keep Work Area Clean and Dry
- 8. Use Just One Extension Cord
- 9. Tie Back Long Hair
- 10. Avoid Using Blunt Blades
- 11. Always Work Against the Cutter
- 12. Do Not Reach Over a Running Blade
- 13. Use Roller Supports and Extension Tables for Large Projects
- 14. Have a Complete Understanding of Your Tool
Woodworking Safety Rules
1. Wear the Right Safety Equipment
Protecting exposed parts of your body is one of the best possible ways to avoid hazards. Wearing the appropriate safety gear for each body part is very important; safety goggles to protect the eyes, dust mask to protect your nose and, leather or steel toe boots to protect your feet from cuts, strains from standing too long and, keep heavy objects from crushing your feet if they ever dropped on them.
All parts of your body should be covered. Sometimes, the kind of project you’re working on determines how geared up you should be, but you should never ignore wearing your safety gear even if you’re working for a few minutes.
2. Wear the Right Clothes
You might be wondering what “right clothes” have to do with woodworking. Right clothes in this context are comfortable clothing, not baggy clothing. Loose-fittings increases the chances of being a victim of woodworking hazards; they get caught in saw blades. Long sleeves are also exampling of bad clothing too; if you prefer wearing long-sleeved clothing, roll them up.
3. Avoid Distractions
Maintaining undivided attention helps you work faster and avoid accidents. Multi-tasking is totally against woodworking ethics, especially when working on a running blade. Distractions are sometimes unavoidable; for people who have their workshops close to the house. If you find yourself in such a position, try finishing up your cutting work and make sure you turn off the appliance or equipment in use before attending to such. Keep your mobile device on silent too. A ringing phone completely tears down your focus.
4. Wear Hearing Protection
Most times, woodworking appliances make a lot of noise when in use, which could damage the ear. Earplugs and earmuffs are the best ways to work with your noisy appliances without losing your sense of hearing. Hearing protection is also great for maintaining focus
5. Never Take in Anything That’ll Affect Your Natural Judgment
The intake of alcohol or drugs before or during woodworking activities is a dangerous decision to make. Working under the influence of alcohol completely disrupts your natural way of thinking, which might cause you to harm yourself. Taking drugs or alcohol shouldn’t be your excuse for an energy boost – an energy drink or coffee is just okay.
6. Make Sure You Have Proper Lighting
Providing enough lighting in your workshop makes it easier to avoid tripping and falling hazards. Sufficient lighting also makes it easier to make precise cuts and get rid of blind spots.
7. Keep Work Area Clean and Dry
A clean and dry workspace avoids tripping hazards. You wouldn’t have to worry about a dislocation because you slipped and fell on your arm or a sprained ankle because you tripped on a chunk of wood lying around. Keeping your workspace moisture-free also reduces the chances of electrocution that might occur if it comes in contact with an outlet.
8. Use Just One Extension Cord
Making use of a single heavy-duty extension cord for all connections is another easy way to keep your workshop in order and avoid tripping or falling hazards. Another advantage of using just one extension cord is; it makes it easier to disconnect when closing up for the day and keeping track of all connections to avoid leaving any appliance running.
9. Tie Back Long Hair
Having your hair caught in a tool or spinning machine is one of the worst woodworking hazards. Keeping your hair tied back is the only way to avoid such a hazard. Make sure your hair isn’t getting in your way – keep it as short as possible.
10. Avoid Using Blunt Blades
Blunt blades make cutting more difficult and could destroy your project completely. Try replacing or sharpening blunt blades before cutting because using a blunt blade to cut a thick chunk of wood might cause the whole machine to overheat and damage completely.
11. Always Work Against the Cutter
Most times, cutting appliances function by moving in the opposite direction of the material it was made to cut. Keeping the blade and wood in the opposite direction reduces the risks of damages and likely hazards that might occur.
12. Do Not Reach Over a Running Blade
It doesn’t matter what got stuck behind a running blade or how it got there, trying to reach for it while the blade is still running is extremely dangerous and could also lead to severe cuts. Disconnect the running blade and wait for it to completely stop its motion before making any attempt to reach for your stuck item or waste.
13. Use Roller Supports and Extension Tables for Large Projects
Moving your large projects and equipment shouldn’t be difficult. Being able to move them easily helps reduce muscle fatigue and leaves you with enough energy to begin or finish up your project.
14. Have a Complete Understanding of Your Tool
The user’s manual is just as important as your tool. Knowing what your tool is really made of and how it was originally meant to function makes it easier to maintain. Making use of a tool you have no idea can lead to a major life-threatening hazard.
You can never be too sure about not being involved in an accident; mistakes happen every time. Woodworking safety rules don’t begin from the workshop but our homes – how we pay attention to little details and avoid the life-threatening event.
Remember, there is no such thing as being too careful or over-protected, always come geared up. Having a first aid box, a phone nearby and, fire-extinguishers are important and prepare you for the worst – leaving you prepared for any accidents that might occur.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.