Safety is paramount in any woodshop, and certainly should not be overlooked when creating a woodshop at your home. Regardless of an individual’s level of experience, mistakes and accidents can happen in a shop, and can cause serious injury or worse. Keep these six items on hand in your woodshop to build the basic foundation for safe operation of tools and equipment:
1. Eye protection: Safety glasses or face shields should always be worn when working with power tools. Keep enough eye protection on hand in the woodshop to cover the maximum number of people that may be present in the shop at once. Consider the types of tools and materials in your shop and choose appropriately rated eye protection.
2. Respirators or dust masks: Inhaling fine dust particles is hazardous to your health. At minimum, keep on hand a good supply of disposable dust masks or washable cloth masks that are designed to filter fine dust. For a larger investment, you may invest in a power air respirator, which will generally provide a higher level of comfort for extended use.
3. Ear protection: Exposure to noisy equipment, particularly for long periods of time, can cause hearing loss. Ear plugs and/or ear muffs should be available in the woodshop and used by anyone in the shop when appropriate.
4. Fire extinguisher: The fire extinguisher(s) in a woodshop should be stored in a visible and accessible place. Keep glue, thinners and other potentially flammable items away from areas with electrical wires.
5. Running water or eyewash station: While power tools should not be used around water, having running water or an eye washing station available in areas where chemicals are used is a good idea.
6. First aid kit: Even when safety gear is worn and precautions are taken, unforeseen accidents can occur. Be sure to have a well stocked first aid kit on hand in the woodshop, and replenish it as needed.
The appropriate safety gear to be used depends on the particular tool being used or task being performed. Safety gear such as goggles, ear protection and respirators are available with different ratings and strengths, so take into account the types of tools and materials you will be using when choosing safety gear for your home woodshop. Always consult the safety manual for the tools you will be using to ensure that your safety gear and attire are adequate.