I thought about what I wanted to post this year for Woodworking Safety Day (formerly Safety Week), and was honestly having trouble thinking of something that hasn’t been covered already. I then thought about posting about simply listening to your inner voice and making sure one analyzes and is comfortable with a certain operation, but I think Tom and Dyami have covered that really well already this year.
So what I though I would offer this year is how family can contribute to shop safety. After all, we each have our own personal set of rules we follow to help us keep safe. Our family should be a part of the equation too. For instance, some of the safety guidelines we follow in our house are:
- If you hear cutting machines (table saw, jointer, planer, etc.) running, wait until they are powered off before interrupting.
- Communicate. If you’ll need a certain amount of time to complete an operation and think it could be a safety risk to be interrupted, tell your family. “Hey, I’ll need about an hour to get this part done. I’m cutting up a bunch of small pieces at the table saw and will need to focus on that.”
- My son is 8 years old, so this is pretty much a no-brainer; but he’s not allowed in the shop without supervision. I’m all for exposing kids to the goodness of woodworking, so when kids do come into the shop and want to watch or help, show them where to stand that is safe and out of the “line of potential fire” for any hand or power tool work you may be doing. Take it step further and explain why you’re asking them to stand there. They will begin to develop a sense of safety for themselves.
- I do the vast majority of work alone, but when I do need a second person to help, as was the case recently when I had to replace my basement door and needed to route out the mortises for the hinges, my wife will help. In these cases, I have dedicated hearing and eye protection set aside just for her (my son will use these too when appropriate).
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Take some time to talk about shop safety with your family, and come up with some rules that make sense for your situation.
Stay safe! Take some time to check out the other safety posts listed on The Wood Whisperer’s Safety Day page here.