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When Using Woodworking Machines, What Safety Measures Should I take?

Detel Model M2H, 32mm Vertical Boring MachineWith their powerful cutting tools and energized parts, woodworking machines can be dangerous to operate. To operate them safely, you should follow safety measures that protect you from injuries that can occur instantaneously or due to repeated exposure. Below, we list eight safety measures that everyone should take when operating new or used woodworking machines.

1. Wear safety goggles, a dust mask, and hearing protection

Safety goggles protect your eyes from flying wood debris; a dust mask protects your respiratory system from wood dust; and hearing protection guards against the cumulative effects of loud noise. Without these protections, workers can sustain injuries that reduce their quality of life.

2. Wear gloves in the right situation

You should always wear gloves when handling stock, but not while guiding it into a cutting mechanism. If a cutting tool catches your glove, it could draw your hand into its cutting plane, injuring your fingers.

3. Put safety guards in place

After woodworkers become familiar with their machinery, they sometimes fail to keep safety guards down during the cutting process. While being familiar with your machines can lead to increased safety, carelessly leaving safety guards up negates that safety. Remember, it only takes one slip up to lose a hand or a finger.

4. Check stock for smoothness before cutting it

Depending on how it’s transported, stock can end up with nails or staples from the packing process. Therefore, to prevent dangerous kickbacks during the cutting process, it’s best to check stock for nails and other material before cutting it.

5. Use a pushing stick where applicable

Whenever possible, use a pushing stick to guide stock into a cutting mechanism. This keeps your hands away from the machine blades, and also reduces the likelihood of being hit by a dangerous kickback.

6. Secure stock before drilling or milling it

In addition to preventing sudden movements of stock that could cause you injury or damage your router’s sensitive cutting tool, keeping stock secured during the drilling or milling process can also improve the quality of your work.

7. Keep blades sharp

Dull blades are bad for two reasons: they increase the likelihood of kickback and flying wood chunks, and they make machines work harder than they should, leading to increased motor repairs and premature motor breakdown.

8. Keep work areas free of clutter

When your work environment contains machines that have blades and sharp corners, the last thing you want are work areas filled with clutter and debris. In addition to picking up things you could trip on, also sweep up wood dust, which could cause dangerous slips and falls.

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