Using electric saws accounted for more than 50% of hand injuries when it comes to woodworking, so you must understand how it works and read every beginner’s guide to power tools safety. The danger of power tools is so much evident with over 400,000 emergency room visits in the US alone each year. It is because of misused tools and working on projects without work safety. Fortunately, you can reduce the change of power tool accidents with proper safety measures.
When it comes to power tool safety, you should always wear personal protective equipment like goggles and gloves. It will serve as protection against hazards that you may encounter while using electric hand tools. You should also keep your work area clean, especially the floor, to prevent accidental slips around sharp-edged tools. More importantly, know how to operate it smoothly.
It requires experience, strength, and presence of mind when it comes to operating power tools. It is extremely hazardous when you misuse it, and can hurt you badly with a blink of an eye. Regardless of the kind of your power tool, make sure to read this complete beginner’s guide to power tool safety.
Circular Saw Safety
Whether a regular or cordless circular saw, preparation is essential to cut any piece of material safely. Make sure that you are doing it right by following these easy steps before plugging it on the socket, and switching it on.
1.Wear Protective Gear
Regardless of the project that you want to make, protective gears are essential. From head to toe, you must protect yourself from hard flying objects, specks of dust, and noise. Wear proper lock-toe footwear that will protect your feet from injury. Moreover, make sure to wear protective glasses to prevent debris from reaching your eyes.
While not mandatory for certain products, you’ll still want to wear a dust mask when cutting stuff like bricks. Ultimately, contrary to what a lot of people do, do NOT wear gloves when cutting wood. They can quickly get stuck in the circular saw as counterintuitive as it might sound, resulting in injury.
2.Use Sharp And Appropriate Right Blade
You can choose from multiple types of blades-they tailored for a specific role. As such, avoid using metal wood blades, wood masonry blades, and others. Doing so will result in very inefficient cutting, damage the blade or injure you. The same applies to dull blades too. So, make sure to sharpen the edges before you start cutting.
3.Check the Piece You Want To Cut
When cutting wood, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any nails or screws that you’re intending to remove, because they could damage your saw or even kill you. The same goes for other products. Make sure that there are no stones on the piece you are cutting and other loose parts. When hit with your circular saw, those foreign objects will turn into missiles that could cause severe harm and injury if it hits you.
4.Set the Cut Depth Right
One of the things you’ll need to do when using a circular saw is adjusted the cut depth. In other words, you’ll have to set how much of the blade sticks out of the circular saw and trim the material. Place it too short, and it isn’t going to cut through. Place it too long, and too much of the material would hold the blade out.
While that might not sound like a big deal, it will make the blade more likely to bend while rotating, making it more challenging to make an excellent straight cut and, more importantly, increase the risk of a kickback. The general rule is to set the depth of the saw in a way that the blade does not stick more than ¼ inch from the material. So you’d set the cut depth to 2 ¼ inches if you’re trying to cut a board that is 2 inches high.
5.Secure the Piece
Once you start your circular saw the last thing to ensure is that the piece you’re about to cut is locked in place. If you cut a loose piece, you’ll usually use clamps or a vise to do so. In this case, you can stop securing it at both ends of your cut to decrease the risk of a kickback.
6.Keep The Cords Away
For obvious reasons, you don’t want to interrupt your work with flowing cords. If you use a corded circular saw, make sure that the cable is always “behind the cut.” Also, whether you use a corded saw or a cordless one, always make sure that there are no wirings as you cut.
7.Keep Your Feet Solid on the Ground
Whenever you strike, make sure both of your feet are flat on the ground – no matter whether you are standing or crouching. You’ll have the most power over your body when you do it this way. Also, make sure you don’t cut in an awkward or even bulky way, and don’t overreach.
8.Do Not Place Your Body in Line with the Saw
Do not line your body with your cut. Never. Although it might sound more obvious for items like reciprocating saws, where you sometimes cut “toward you,” the same applies to a circular saw where you drive it away. The reason for that is a kickback chance. If your circular vision kicks back and goes towards the cut’s path, you don’t want it to touch your body. You want it to go into an empty room, then, to prevent injury.
9.Exert Your 100% Focus All The Time
When working in a group, chit-chatting about things is always fun, while hammering nails in or tightening bolts. Do not do that though when cutting materials with a circular saw. When you’re the one cutting, focus 100 percent on cutting – don’t simultaneously try to tell your coworker a joke. Don’t want to belt out your work site radio along with the music blasting.
10.Never Let Your Guard Down After Cutting
You’ll also have to either securely pack your saw away, or make sure it doesn’t injure anybody until you make the next shot. This tip may sound a little counterintuitive given that it “exposes” the blade of the saw. It means resting on its side of your circular saw, rather than vertically pointing down the edge.
The reason you should always rest your saw on its side is to avoid it from being triggered unintentionally and “going wild.” In other words, if the blade begins spinning for one purpose, you don’t want it to function as a lever that pushes the saw straight through your feet.
11.Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger When Not Cutting
Like the above, it’s a safeguard that will keep you safe between, before, and after wounds. It is one which prevents unnecessary injuries. Be sure to keep your finger off the trigger while you are holding or carrying your saw but not using it.
12.Turn Off The Power Completely Before Touching the Blade
Sometimes, it’s inevitable to clean your saw or change your blade. If for one reason or another, you need to touch the edge of the saw, but make sure the saw is powerless. In the case of circular corded saws, get it unplugged from the socket. On the other hand, make sure to remove the battery for cordless models. It’s the only way to be sure that it won’t start spinning.
Power Drill Safety
Portable power drills are one of our most useful tools, and it can be among the safest power tools to use. However, there are still threats lying around when using electric drills that may cause severe injuries in so many ways. Look carefully over the drill before commencing a drilling job. Locate any risks, and evaluate a secure action plan. Here are some pointers to remember.
First of all, make sure that the drill is clean and 100% in good condition. Check for any dirt and rust as it can affect your project and cause harm to the user. Make sure the pace of the drill is sufficient for the job. It should not work too quickly or too hard.
You have to be certain in setting the drill bit straight. Keep the drill up for a moment, and turn it on. Without any wobble, the bit will run entirely smoothly. If it wobbles, either the bit isn’t straight, or it’s crooked in the jaws. Without much pressure, a sharp bit will gain control.
Watch for splits, exposed wires and looseness on connections to the plug or frame. If the drill is double-coated, make sure the ground wire is in place, and the third prong has not been removed. You don’t want an electric drill jerked out of your hands, and if anyone else slips on your chain, you might all get hurt.
Look to loose or fixed objects on the board. When you’re concentrating on a drilling job, tripping over something unexpected is quick.
5.The Job And Project
Starting the drill hole at the right angle, and holding it straight, requires caution and steadiness. If a drill is not held correctly, the bit may bend or break, sending metal flying.
When drilling into the metal, it depends a lot on the hardness of the steel. At low pressure, very soft metals like copper or aluminum will be sliced. Durable steel needs a little special. More pressure needs to be applied, but caution is necessary because too much can overheat and bind the drill.
When you’re finished drilling, find a suitable spot for the drill. Install a hanger to allow the drill to hook out of the way but still within easy reach. Never leave plugged into your power drill while not in active use. Take the bit out when returning the drill to the tool room or transporting it to a job site. It removes the risk that yourself or a coworker will stab you; even a dull bit will quickly dig into flesh.
Table Saw Safety
The table saw is possibly the woodworking tool most widely used in the woodshop. Statistically, it is also potentially the most damaging because it appears that more severe injuries occur from using the table saw than any other woodworking power tool. A woodworker can considerably reduce the risk of injury when using a table saw by taking reasonable, common-sense precautions. Below are safety tips that you should keep in mind before using a table saw.
1.Remember To Wear Safety Equipment
When using power tools, it should be considered compulsory to wear the required protective equipment. The woodworker will also wear protective glasses and hearing protection, but attention should also be given to suitable clothes. Loose-fitting shoes, neckties, and watches are also risks that can be avoided with a table saw.
2.Always Keep Your Working Area Clean
Keep the table and surrounding area free of stock, cut-offs and excess sawdust while using a table saw. Both of these may disturb or hinder the ability of the woodworker to make safe, clean cuts. When a loose piece of stock meets a moving weapon, it may turn into a projectile.
3.Read And Understand Safety Instructions And Features Of The Tool
Always test the safety features of your table saw before starting any job to make sure they’re set and working correctly. The saw blade guard, riving knife, and anti-kickback pawls are designed to protect the woodworker and should be appropriately balanced before turning on the gas.
4.Use Outfeed Tables When Appropriate
Position an outfeed table or stand to help support the stock when cutting large pieces of stock, such as a full sheet of plywood. Using these helpers should make the cutting parts more secure and cut perfectly.
5.Disconnect To Power Plug When Changing Blades
The woodworker should always disconnect the power to the saw before moving the blade or making any other internal changes on the table saw. It would lower the risk of accidental flipping on the saw while the table saw is being worked on.
6.Do Not Start the Saw With the Blade Engaged
The woodworker will check to make sure the blade spins freely when preparing to start the saw and not engage in the stock. Once the motor is switched on, it should allow the edge to reach full speed before beginning the cut.
7.Maintain Posture And Good Position
The woodworker should maintain a proper, and solid stance with a broad base when standing at the table, to keep the right balance. You should not be standing directly in front of the gun, because if a kickback happens, the stock does not kick back into the body but will slip past the mid-section of the operator going towards you.
8.Never Touch Or Reach A Moving Blade
The operator will never touch or make any changes to the fence or blade while the blade is still moving. Wait for the blade to come to a full stop before making any changes.
9.Use Correct Inserts
Use the proper zero-clearance blade inserts while using a table saw. Even an adequate insert should be used when using a stacked die cutter. A piece of stock may fall into the saw cabinet and become a projectile, without a blade insert.
10.Never Free-Hand a Cut
The woodworker should never try a free-hand cut while using a table saw. Bear in mind, however, that the fence and miter gauge should never be used together because a piece of stock’s end grain will tie against the fence.
11.Always Check The Table Saw For Any Stock Objects
For any foreign objects such as a pin, nail, staple or even a loose knot in the wood, the woodworker will visually test the board being cut before starting any cut. Any of these can come loose when it comes into contact with a spinning blade and become a dangerous projectile. A specially designed metal detector, mainly when working with recycled material, is excellent for checking for hidden fasteners in stock.
12.Use a Push Stick
When the board is cut and has a stock width of fewer than six inches away from the blade, a push stick should be used to help push the board through the blade. It will help keep the fingers of the woodworkers free from the blade. You can purchase proper push sticks from any excellent woodworking supplier shop.
General Safety Tips For Using Hand And Power Tools
Regardless of the power tool that you’re going to use, there are general safety tips to make you feel safer when using it. Even if you invest in high-end electric or battery-operated hand tools, it still poses threats and risks of injuries in woodworking. Aside from understanding how it works, and other safety features of the instrument, here are some tips for using any hand and electric tools.
Safety Tips For Hand Tools
- Choose quality woodworking instruments. Most devices should be made of steel like cutters which hammer, and should be heat-treated. More importantly, maintain it properly and regularly.
- Dress up for the job by avoiding loose clothes or objects that can be entangled in the moving parts of a device, such as jewellery.
- Wear appropriate personal protective clothing, such as leather gloves.
- For the job using the right tool. To put it another way, don’t try using a wrench as a hammer.
- Make sure your feet are sewn on a safe surface.
- Be aware of the people around you, and make sure they remain clear of the tools that you use.
- Always take hand-held instruments up a ladder. Using a bucket or bag instead to hoist the equipment from the ground to the worker.
- Always leave tools lying out in places where they could pose a threat to the staff below while working at heights.
- Safe function with a lock, or to prevent it from slipping when necessary.
- Never carry pointed instruments in your pocket, and load them into a toolbox or cart.
- Regularly inspect your equipment, and test for any damage. Document to your overseer the damaged machine.
- In case the tool you had intended to use is hurt, make sure to keep extra tools handy.
- Make sure to store the tools in a safe location.
Safety Tips For Power Tools
- Keep the floors dry and clean so that they do not slip while working with or around dangerous instruments.
- Keep cords off presenting a hazard of tripping.
- Never carry a cord control device.
- Use double-insulated or three-pronged cord devices that are plugged into a grounded receptacle.
- If approved for this purpose, do not use electrical tools in wet conditions.
- Using appropriate protective gear and clothing.
Safety Tips For Pneumatic Tools
- Verify all parts of the device are firmly fastened before use.
- Never point a compressed air gun to yourself or anyone else.
- When using the tool, make sure the pressure is released before you sever the connections to the hose.
- Use a safety clip or retainer to prevent attachments being ejected during operation, and use a chip guard when using compressed high-pressure air for cleaning purposes. Be sure to restrict the pressure at the nozzle to 30 pounds per square inch.
- Using screens to shield working people nearby from flying debris.
- Never leave your tool unattended.
- Never store air guns loaded.
The 10 Safety Rules Every Woodworker Should Know
Woodworking is one of the best and most fun activities you can do, given that you stick to a simple set of safety guidelines that are easy to obey. These safety rules for woodworking are meant to be easy to recall and are often common sense. Failure to comply with safety rules will result in serious injury. The workshop is not the place to be careless. It is the place to learn and develop good work habits of safety which in turn will make woodworking more fun and enjoyable.
1.Always Wear Safety Equipment
We have been saying it a lot, but we will tell you one more time because the protective gear is essential in protecting you from any injuries. It is common sense to wear PPEs for woodworking, but woodworkers often take advantage of it. It is crucial to cover your face while making sure that you are comfortable wearing it.
2.Wear The Right Clothes
The problem with wearing baggy or loose clothing is the very high probability that any of them will be trapped in a cutting head or blade. As a result, always try to wear clothes which make you a better match for the woodworking environment, but also protect yourself. Make sure to remove any dangerous jewelry or metal like chains, and bracelets before starting work.
3.Avoid Using Anything That Can Cause Poor Judgement
Woodworking is like driving a car, if you want to prevent collisions, you want to stay out of the alcohol and drug cabinets. The risks in the woodshop are even higher by using the wrong tool unintentionally when you’re not focused to see what you’re doing it wrong. So, you should never mix alcohol and work, even though it’s just a beer.
4.Disconnect From Power Supply
Before you adjust blades orbits on your power tools, always try to remove the power source itself. If you are using a cordless power tool, the best way to make sure that there is no power, you have to remove the battery. Otherwise, you will still be at high risk of getting hurt when changing the blade.
5.Use A Single Extension Cord
Using one heavy-duty extension cord for all of your power tools will ensure that the power for each device is turned off. Too many cords can become overwhelming and can be a danger to ride.
6.Never Use Dull Blades & Bits
Although this can seem obvious to see how dangerous a bulky cutting tool can be, dull devices may have to be made to work harder to cut and can attach or push back as a result. Clean bits and blades would also mean more precise cuts.
7.Check Stock for Existing Metal
Be sure that the piece of stock does not already have embedded nails, screws or other bits of metal stuck in it until sawing through or making a cut. Spinning blades and nails do not mix well together causing damage to both the stock and the head of the cutting. It may also cause the stock to come back and cause damage, so always make sure the stock is safe, or use a metal detector to make sure it’s for you.
8.Work Against The Cutter
Most power tools are built in a way that needs the direction a piece of wood moves through the device, that is the opposite direction of the movement of the cutting head. You need to make sure that instead of through it, the blade or router bit slices toward the wood’s motion.
When dealing with distractions, you want to make sure you complete what you were doing before you turn your focus elsewhere.
When it comes to operating power tools, make sure that you understand how it works and the safety features involved in using it. When in doubt, avoid using electric devices as much as possible. Otherwise, you will be risking your life. If you want to avoid unwanted visits to hospital emergency rooms, make sure that you follow safety procedures in using electric woodworking tools.