Educate Yourself on the Machines
If you have not been trained on how to properly use a particular machine, do not use it. Sounds like common sense, and it is, but it can be tempting to try and ‘figure out’ a machine, or make assumptions about how it works, which can be very, very dangerous. Make sure to read the owner’s manual very, very carefully. If any part of the instructions are unclear, do not use the machine until you have asked questions and understand how to use the machine safely. Many product providers, such as Tool Wolf, discuss various types of tools, and can be very informative and helpful for your woodworking efforts.
Make sure the hearing protection you are wearing is the right kind, not only for the level of noise, but the frequency. If you are unable to hear someone speak from about three feet away, the noise level is high enough to potentially cause damage, so take proper precautions.
When handling the wood, wear gloves to protect yourself from splinters. But, when you are near rotating blades and other type of machinery where the gloves can catch, make sure to remove them.
Check the Guard
Before working with a machine, be sure that the guard is in the proper position, is in good working order and guards the machine adequately. Double check all other safety devices and make the proper adjustments.
Good lighting is crucial to safe woodworking. It is important you can properly see the piece you are working on, the machine controls and the blades. Make sure lighting sources are properly positioned or shaded to prevent the light from shining in your eyes or causing any sort of reflection or glare.
A clean work area is a key part of a woodworking safety protocol. Make sure the area is free of clutter, clean and well swept. Clean up any spills right away. Floors should be non-slip and level. Maintaining ‘house’ will go a long way in reducing accidents and injuries. On a related note, floor space surrounding equipment should be adequate so as not to bump into other equipment or workers.
Do not wear loose-fitting clothing that can get caught in cutting heads or saw blades. You want to be comfortable but will also offer appropriate protection from any wood chips flying around. Do not wear any sort of dangling jewelry.
Disconnect Power Before Changing Blades or Bits
This important tip has been forgotten by many a woodworker, resulting in lost fingers and even more serious injuries. If you are changing a blade or bit, make sure the power is off completely…just switching off the power switch is insufficient as it could malfunction or get bumped back on by accident.
Use Sharp Bits and Blades
Dull cutting tools also make for dangerous tools. Dull tools mean you have to work harder to get the job done, which makes the tool more likely to bind or kick back. Sharp tools make for cleaner cuts, which improves the quality of your piece, so there’s that. Always keep everything properly sharpened.