Workspace safety is the most important consideration when woodturning in a home studio or shed. Your safety should not be overlooked, and while safety issues can be daunting or time-consuming, it really is quite simple to create a safe space. At the end of the day, taking the necessary safety steps will keep you and your loved ones safe and well. Your health after all is too important to not take precaution. Failing to maintain a safe workspace could lead to many issues and most importantly, could lead to damage to your eyes or other areas of the body.
An important first step is taking the time to understand the tools, equipment and materials that you are working with. You need to be aware of any potential hazards that exist and then work to either eliminate or reduce such risks. Read the warnings and the Material Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) for the products and materials you are working with. The MSDS provides consumers with information on the potentially harmful effects of the product and explains how to safely handle and store the material. Many products will have MSDS reports online which should be found through a Google search, or by contacting the manufacturer.
Below are some necessary tips that you should follow. Please keep in mind that it’s not an exhaustive list of tips and that further safety measures should be applied depending on each situation.
Personal: Tie up long hair and avoid very loose fitting clothing or dangling jewellery. Power tools can get caught on anything loose and dangling. Wearing long clothing as opposed to shorts and singlets can prevent sawdust and contaminants from affecting you. When using lathes, gloves should be avoided as they can catch on the wood or chuck.
Power tools: Eye protection and lung protection needs to be considered when operating power tools. Wear a mask and safety goggles for protection against anything that may come into contact with your eyes.
Dust: Wear a dust mask when sanding, buffing or drilling. Decide what type to wear depending on the type of dust you’re working with. When purchasing a mask you will want one that can be fitted properly and is light in weight.
Ventilation and Extraction: If you are doing a lot of sanding or finishing, adequate ventilation should be supplied. Dust collection systems are available but are pricey. Ventilation alone may not be an effective approach as what is needed is the complete removal of dust and fumes. A sucking device will suck away toxic materials as they are produced, removing them entirely from your workspace.
- An apron can be worn to protect your clothing.
- Make sure to install a lock on the door if you have small children.
- Ensure there is a clearance around exits and on workspaces when using tools.
- Keep all electrical cords out of the way.
- When using equipment and tools, work without any distractions that could prevent you from focusing.
- Disconnect power when altering machinery.
- Ensure all start and stop buttons are accessible.
- Keep all workspaces clear of rubbish and unnecessary clutter.
You always want to aim for a well laid-out and orderly workshop that is well-maintained, and has appropriate work stations and lots of personal safety equipment. At all times when possible, choose procedures that don’t involve exposure to risks. Setting up things so that you can’t hurt yourself and fixing hazards and problems as they arise will also ensure you safety is maintained.
Have we missed any other important tips? Let us know in the comments below.