If you don’t know, this is Safety Week. It was started by the Wood Whisperer a few years back and has become a nice annual reminder to keep ourselves safe. The links above will take you to others who are great sources for safety stories, especially Matt, with his Flying Router Trick.
Some (Perhaps) little known Shop Safety Tips:
For those of us who work in a little metal working into our craft: If you use Acetylene, do NOT lay the cylinder on its side. A component of the gas is Acetone, which can destroy the pressure regulator. So keep your bottles safely upright during use and storage.
Don’t remove Grinder Guards: The guard is not just there to keep your fingers away from the spinning wheel. I have had it happen to me when a wheel will just spontaneously disintegrate into a million pieces of deadly spiralling shrapnel… You have watched the episode of mythbusters with the overclocked CD Drives, Haven’t you?
Don’t Use a belt sander on aluminum then Iron: Apparently the combination of powdered aluminum and iron oxide can be very explosive when heated! Actually… THAT particular combination is called Thermite…. Careful there!
Protecting your Ears From noise may not be enough…. Don’t forget your feet. Yup, your feet hear noise too… in the form of vibration. Standing for long periods of time around noisy shop equipment may not be too bad for your ears with the right protection, but the vibrations (sound is one, of course) travel through the hard surface floor and through your feet and body. This leads to fatigue, and Fatigue leads to mistakes. If you have the cushioned mats, GREAT! Or at least consider making sure you have really comfy padded (but safe, no bunny slippers here) shoes. If you don’t mind lifting up the mats to sweep, the ring ones are nice to catch chips and offer traction too.
Many of you already know that sanding certain woods can cause lung irritation. But did you know just how many wood dust can actually cause nervous system problems, or that certain types of splinters are actually more prone to going septic? I found a great list here of common woods and symptoms of over exposure. It is at the end of the pdf document: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wis30.pdf
Why is safety week important?
Because there are new woodworkers and shop tinkerers coming into the game every day. If we assume everyone knows everything, then how are the new people going to learn in the first place? Also, this week is a great time for those that already know to get a reminder. Who Knows, Maybe you’ll even learn something new. C’mon, I’ll bet you didn’t know the Thermite one already…
Thanks for spending a little time with me.