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Things to Avoid When Working with Woodworking Machines

Northfield Model 8L, 8" JointerA career in woodworking can provide good pay and high job satisfaction, but only if you take the right safety measures for your woodshop. If you employ woodworkers, your shop’s safety can impact your bottom line in more ways than one. Below, we list seven things to eliminate from your woodshop to protect both your workers and your profits.

1. Lack of eye, ear, and lung protection

Workers who don’t wear safety goggles, earplugs, and dust masks are at risk for eye injury, hearing loss, and respiratory infection, maladies that could lead to increased sick days and workers comp claims. Properly protecting your employees’ ears, eyes, and lungs does more than protect their health; it also protects your profits.

2. Lack of posted lock out procedures

When new or used woodworking machines are improperly locked out prior to maintenance, they can suddenly jump into motion or deliver shocks. By placing a lockout procedure for each of your machines in plain view, you’ll protect your employees from injury and make it harder for careless employees to collect on injury claims.

3. Machines left running while unattended

Leaving woodworking machines running are not good for several reasons: it causes unnecessary wear, it jeopardizes worker safety, and it drives up your electric bill. If your shop contains an assembly line, its machines may run while the line is up. For independent machines, however, the best practice is to turn them off between tasks.

4. Wood dust on the floor

Most woodshops experience a preponderance of wood dust daily. If left to accumulate on the floor, it can cause slips and falls by reducing boot traction. If you don’t have a way to collect dust from the floor, assign the duty to your employees on a rotating basis. Otherwise, you could end up paying workers comp claims.

5. Wearing  jewelry and baggy clothes

Baggy clothes are comfortable to work in, but they can get caught in moving machine parts, especially saw blades. The same thing can happen with jewelry. Therefore, to protect your employees and your business, it’s best to prohibit baggy clothes and jewelry in your woodshop.

6. Boots without steel toes

Because woodwork involves handling loose wood stock and walking in an environment that contains steel machinery, steel toe boots are a must. Injuries due to improper footwear are one of the leading types of injuries in industrial work settings.

7. Horseplay

You want your workers to enjoy their job. But you don’t want them to horseplay in an environment that has steel machines and powerful cutting blades. In addition to wasting work time, horsing around in a woodshop could easily lead to bruises, cuts, or worse.


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