Power Tool and Workshop Safety

Just knowing how to use power tools properly is not enough to help you avoid accidental injury on the job. Working in the proper environment away from potential hazards is of great importance. Although not every accident is always avoidable, you can help minimize or eliminate most possible dangers before you even turn on your circular saw.

Whether your workspace is a garage or a warehouse, how much space you have will determine what equipment and how much of it is safe to operate within spatial limitations. The floor should be flat and even, made of a solid, not slippery surface. There should be plenty of storage space located close to the ground. Heavy power tools and sharp objects should never be hung above head level or carried down ladders.

If you have children, dangerous equipment should be locked in a safe, dry area away from little hands. The floor should have access to a drain if necessary and there should be plenty of space around grounded equipment to easily move around.

You should be free to work and move without knocking elbows with another table saw. Good ventilation and lighting are also a must. Use windows, overhead lights, and have flashlights handy.

Emergency situations should also be accounted for. Have a well-stocked first aid kit handy that includes scissors, band aids, gauze, medical tape, alcohol pads, and fresh water. There should be a working phone nearby as well in case of serious injury.

Fire extinguishers and smoke alarms should be kept in working order and checked regularly to ensure they are in proper working condition. When possible, power tools should have safety devices on. Extra safety equipment such as goggles and masks should also be kept nearby.

Electric shock is a common hazard that can easily be avoided. Power tools should be checked regularly before use to ensure that power cords are not damaged and that there is no moisture. Keep the floor clean and dry and never work near water.

Do not overload wall sockets. You should have plenty of outlets to meet all of your needs, as well as a grounded three-wire system for 120-volt circuits.

Remember that you will also need enough electricity not only for your power tools, but to keep your lights, ventilation system, and heater or air conditioner running when necessary. Unplug equipment when not in use and carefully store power cords to prevent entanglement.

Even if your workshop is in order, you still have to check all power tools before each use. Look for any signs of damage, moisture, or rust. Blades should be kept sharpened. All handles and screws should be inspected, ensuring that they remain tight. If some power tools are battery operated, always check the battery before using. They sometimes leak, which can cause damage to the tool and injury to you. All parts should be in working condition. If something appears broken, only attempt to repair it if you have experience, or else leave it to a professional. If you are unclear of how to operate a piece of equipment, always follow all instructions given in the factory manual. Booklets that accompany power tools should also be kept in a convenient place for reference.