Although safety is a concern with all tools, power tools can pose many different and catastrophic results when individuals using power equipment are not properly trained and advised on the safety hazards associated with them.
One of the first safety concerns is eye protection. Eye protection comes in different forms for use such as goggles, safety glasses and face shields. Safety glasses are a common form of eye protection and should be worn at all times while in a work area or shop. There are different types of safety glasses available and most new versions are the “wrap around” style. This style provides eye protection completely around the eye while protecting the sides and eliminating the need for side shields.
Ear protection must be worn when using some tools repetitively such as a planer, table saw, shapers and many other tools. Ear muffs or ear plugs are a couple of ways to protect your ears. Ear muffs are more desirable because they can be carried around the neck making them easily accessible.
Guards are supplied with all power tools and must be properly installed in order to prevent severe accidents while the tool is in use. They must never be removed or modified beyond their original function. Inspect the guards before use to make sure they don’t stick and be sure they are working properly.
Housekeeping is an often overlooked safety consideration. Stopping work just to clean up may seem to be a waste of time but many accidents are caused by slips and trips in and around work areas. Designating time in your schedule to clean up will help resolve the feeling of time wasted when it comes to housekeeping.
Electrical hazards and shocks are an often overlooked peril which can cause severe burns, shocks and even death. Inspection of the cords connected to power tools is a step which should be completed frequently. Checking the plug (as well as the cord) and making the necessary repairs before beginning work will ensure the tool will be in proper electrical condition. Upon inspection of the cord, if it is cut anywhere along the length of it and the cut goes through the outer insulation jacket, the cord must be cut off at that point and re-connected to a new male or female plug end, or the entire length must be replaced. Never apply tape to a cut on a cord, which could result in a shock or cause a fire.
Never operate power tools in standing water or moisture. Moisture allows current to flow through it which can cause serious injury or death.
Always study the operator’s manual accompanied with the tool to fully understand how to operate it safely and adhere to the safety precautions spelled out in the manuals.
These are a few of the common topics on safety in work areas. Being safety conscious is the key to having safety success. Having time set aside to study safety will ensure a safe working environment for you and those around you.