Woodworking is enjoyed by millions of people around the world, as it has been for thousands of years. You may be planning to make something out of wood yourself. If so, will you be using hand tools or electric power tools? What woodworking safety principles should you keep in mind in order to avoid injury?
According to figures from ROSPA`s home safety accidents site, every year in the UK almost 4,000 people die in accidents in the home and 2.7 million turn up at accident and emergency departments seeking treatment.
Simple nonelectric hand tools may seem quite safe. However, even such common tools as hand knives, wood chisels, handsaws and hammers can be used in an unsafe way. For example, one young woodworker, while trying to free a wooden handle from a tool, drove the straight claw of his hammer met into the wood. When it still would not split, he picked up another hammer and drove the first hammer farther into the wood by striking it on its face Results? A loud bang, a sharp pain in his nose and quite a bit of bleeding. By striking the two hammerheads together he had caused a ‘steel explosion,’ and a steel particle struck him in the nose about an inch from his eye as if fired from a gun.
So observe these woodworking safety precautions: Steel hammers should never be pounded face to face. Also, wear safety eyeglasses when hammering hardened nails into concrete.
Another young man cut his eye while working in close quarters with a long, thin screwdriver. Hence, care should be exercised to keep your face a safe distance away from the tools with which you are working.
General Woodworking Safety Tips
When using sharp cutting tools such as wood chisels or hand knives, one cardinal rule is always to cut away from yourself. It is not easy to remember this rule when a person gets engrossed in cutting a piece of wood, but it can prevent some very serious accidents.
To illustrate: A putty knife may not seem very dangerous. Yet, while using one, a worker nearly lost use of part of his hand permanently. He was applying pressure when the putty knife slipped and slashed his other hand so deeply that tendons were cut. A block of wood can be clamped to a worktable and used as a “stop” to keep the wood from moving when you use chisels or knives. You may also grasp the wood in your hand, but always keep your cutting hand out farthest from your body, cutting only in the direction away from yourself.
When using a metal-cutting hacksaw, it is best to use one having a handle that completely encloses your hand. If the blade breaks, your hand will be more protected than with the open pistol-grip type. In purchasing saws, screwdrivers, pliers, hammers and other tools for home use, it is much better to buy those of good quality. They not only give better service and are less expensive in the long run, but, more importantly, are safer to use.
Millions of people around the world engage in home improvements without any safety problems at all. Don’t let the exception be you!