You wouldn’t automatically put carpentry at the top of the list of risky hobbies, but when you think about the fact that you are working with tools such as hammers, saws and drills, it soon becomes obvious that the likelihood of becoming injured is actually quite high. Keeping safe while woodworking is not difficult, as long as you follow some basic rules and have the right equipment at the ready.
One of the main injuries suffered when woodworking is damage to the eyes. Little splinters of wood can cause serious damage to eyesight, and even sawdust can irritate the eyeball and cause huge discomfort. We were all made to wear goggles when using tools like the plane or the drill at school, so even though it may seem over cautious to use goggles or protective glasses when working at home, it is an essential precaution to protect your eyes. It’s also good practise to keep some eyewash in a first aid kit at home so that eyes can be bathed if anything gets into them.
An obvious consequence of being careless with drills, saws and other sharp tools like chisels is cuts. Sometimes a cut is totally accidental, and even with the best preparation and precautions the accident cannot be prevented. However, if you are confident in using the equipment and know how to use it properly, the likelihood of a cut is far less. Experienced carpenters know how to best position their hands to minimise damage, and before starting to drill or saw make sure your fingers are well clear of any moving parts. Children should never be allowed to use these sorts of tools
If you are new to woodwork, it can be tempting to save some money by not purchasing a proper workbench and making do with the kitchen table or some other makeshift way of holding your wood still. This is just asking for trouble as wood will slip and move about as you are hammering or cutting, so from a safety point of view it is worth buying a simple workbench which has sash clamps incorporated into it, or a separate set of slash clamps which can be put onto a table or bench to hold things firm and steady as you work.
Many of the tools we use when woodworking are powered by electricity and these make a laborious job quicker and easier. Using electric tools is not dangerous as long as you are careful about switching them off and on. Many accidents happen when carpenters need to change a drill bit, but don’t bother unplugging the drill at the mains first. It is easy to accidentally knock a switch or press the wrong part of the drill, and before you know it, you have a drill hole in your hand. Get into the habit right from the start of unplugging items before doing anything with the working parts of saw, screwdriver, drill, or any other tool which has the potential to hurt you if it switches on unexpectedly.
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Morag Peers is a keen blogger who writes on a number of interesting topics. Check her profile on Google+ now.