You have noticed we have written a lot of articles about power tool safety and that is because we have. We feel very strong about this subject as most people do. However we keep getting emails from people about accidents them or their friends have had. We also see items on TV and online, plus all the stats about power tool accidents. Again and again this keeps happening and probably about 95% of the accidents could have been avoided if a little thought or training was put in place.
What seems to happen is most people get in a comfort zone and a routine. Day in and day out they do the same things without any accidents happening. But we have to remember it is just a matter of time before something goes wrong. Take safety glasses. How often do you wear them? Like most people, not often enough and most of the time we get away with it, until the one time that something kicks back, something breaks, etc happens and now we are sitting in the ER wondering if we will be able to see. So as you can see this is something that needs to be taken seriously and we will keep writing articles to help remind you. If you are a contractor, make sure you share these with your employees, you know how costly an accident can be with insurance, finding new workers, down time etc. Plus you don’t want to see one of your buddies laid up.
Again it doesn’t matter if your a professional or weekend warrior, accidents happen and you need to think before you use a power tool that could kick your ***. As with the other list we came up with a top ten list of power tool safety items you should remember.
- Safety Glasses– As noted above, most people do not use safety glasses. Our eyes are very sensitive. How many times have you had a particle go into your eye and you rub your eye because it is annoying. Well these small particles can scratch your lens and more. Safety glasses should be a must on any job site or home.
- Ear Protection– Here is another body part we don’t protect. I don’t think I have ever used ear plugs except when I was at the NHRA races. This is really stupid on my part because the loss of our hearing happens slowly, and not fast such as cutting a finger off. Over time the loud noises damage our ears and make hearing even more difficult.
- Best Tool– The is an easy one. Sometimes we grab for a power tool that is convenient and may not be the best one for the job. Well this is where accidents happen. Always pick the right power tool for the job.
- Technique– When using any power tool, make sure you are using it the correct way and if that means going over the owners manual, then take the time. Make sure the blades or bits are designed for the material you are cutting through. Make sure your technique of using the tool is proper and you are holding the tool the proper way.
- Clothing– Do not wear jewelry or loose clothing as that can get caught on a moving part. I don’t know how many times I see someone using a router or other tool that has moving parts and they are hovering over it with their hooded sweatshirt and the string hanging down. Make sure your clothing is fitted and away from any moving parts.
- Inspection – Inspect your tools and especially the power cords. Stuff drops on cords all the time and worse people walk on power cords. This just leaves an open end to electrical current. Make sure all your power cords don’t have any holes or cuts.
- Being Clean– What does being clean have to do with anything? Well it really doesn’t except I am sure the people around you would want you to have deodorant on. We actually mean the work environment should always be clean and not cluttered. If you have stuff all over the floor such as scrap wood, you have more of a chance of tripping, plus power tool cords always get caught up on the wood when you are cutting. Take a couple of extra minutes and clean up around your work area. It doesn’t have to be spotless, but it should be free of debris.
- Care – Make sure your power tools are in working order. Make sure all the guards work and yes they are there for a reason. Clean your tools so they don’t run hot and cause more problems.
- Location– What the heck is location. Location is just make sure you have a place to store your power tools so they are not out where kids can get to them or even worse, your neighbors. When they are put away, someone is less likely trying to pick it up who doesn’t have experience and try to use the tool.
- Lighting– Yes being able to see is important, who would have thought. We have read some strange things of people cutting in the dark and we still don’t believe it, but people can be strange. Now most of us don’t cut in the dark, but a lot of of us cut in low level light and that could lead to accidents. Not being able to see a cut line because of low levels of light will cause you to shift your body in order to see, now your focus is on the line and not the cut.
Now most of these seem like common sense and they are, but sometimes we just need a little reminder that we need to take some extra time to make sure we keep ourselves and our employees safe.