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Safe Operating Procedures for Using Power Tools in Woodworking

Safe Operating Procedures for Using Power Tools in Woodworking

  1. Goggles protect eyes from flying debris.

    Engineering Controls

    Goggles protect eyes from flying debris.
    The OSHA "Guide for Protecting Workers from Woodworking Hazards" identifies two kinds of hazards. Safety hazards result in immediate injury, including lacerations, abrasions, amputation and blindness. Health hazards cause injuries that result from long-term exposure to environmental factors, such as sawdust and noise; these include deafness and tinnitus. According to "Woodworking eTools," an OSHA online training publication, wood dust causes dermatitis, allergic respiratory effects, mucosal and non-allergic respiratory effects and cancer. Title 29 CFR 1910.213 covers the requirements for woodworking safety.
  2. Look for the emergency off switch.

    Housekeeping Safety

    Look for the emergency off switch.
    Before using a new piece of equipment, an operator must read the manual and become familiar with the engineering controls. He also should receive training from someone who knows how to run the equipment. He should determine the location of the emergency power off switch and inspect the machine guards before operating the equipment. Guards block user access to the point of operation or the area where the wood interacts with the tool, such as the saw blade, and also prevent kickbacks and minimize the amount of flying debris, such as wood chips.
  3. Maintaining a clean work area and equipment provides a level of safety. The tool operator should remove wood chips and other materials from the work surface to eliminate possible projectiles. Make sure the machine is turned off before cleaning it, and use a brush or stick to clear debris.

    Before and after a project, keep the work area clear of extraneous materials. Remove all tripping and slipping potential. Put excess materials or scraps away in an assigned location. Tool operators must know the location of the power cords; keep them away from moving parts and out of the way to avoid tripping. Clean up any grease, water or other spills immediately to prevent falling.

    Noise Control

  4. Noise also poses a health hazard. To decrease noise, lubricate moving machine parts and decrease vibration by firmly attaching components. Also ensure the machinery sits evenly and firmly on the ground to decrease vibration.

    Personal Protective Equipment

  5. Safety goggles help prevent eye injury from flying debris.

    Personal Attire

    Safety goggles help prevent eye injury from flying debris.
    Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to items people wear that add a layer of protection while using power tools, including goggles, face shields, breathing masks and gloves. Always wear goggles or face shields when using woodworking equipment to avoid injury from flying pieces of wood. Select from air filters and respirators to avoid inhalation of sawdust and airborne particulates. Always check the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for appropriate personal protective equipment. Avoid wearing gloves when using power equipment because they catch on the mechanical parts of the machine and cause injury to the wearer.
  6. Woodworking machine operators also need to dress safely. They should avoid wearing items that could get tangled in the machinery. Long-sleeved shirts may get snagged, pull the arm into the working parts of the machine and result in permanent injury. Avoid wearing jewelry; rings and necklaces could get caught in the machinery. Tie back long hair. Shorts and open-toed shoes expose skin to flying debris.

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