10 Safety Tips

1. Keep your work area clean. You don’t have to have a pristine workshop (few of us want that, and even fewer can achieve it!), but if your work area is clean then a lot of hazards will be removed, it will be a less frustrating place to work (because you actually be able to find your tools/PPE/the project you are working on easily)

2. PPE is never as good as prevention- if you can deal with the cause, then PPE becomes a backstop safety device, rather than the primary one.  Use the engineering options in the first instance – dust extraction, air filtration, noise shields, non-rolling chisels (at least in a way they cannot roll) etc, before said chisel rolls off and (hopefully) encounters a steel cap protected foot!

3. Care about the process more than the result.  If a task requires you to take some time, then do so, don’t rush it, take shortcuts etc.  Each step will have some elements of safety, whether that be bringing the featherboards into play, turning on air filtration etc, so appreciate those steps as necessary to the process, and not just skip them

4. Take the time to understand each machine / tool you use.  Learn how to use it properly, and also get used to how it acts, and sounds when it is doing so, so that you can quickly detect when something is not quite right.

5. If you know there is a hazard, don’t keep putting it off, deal with it and then you can get on with using your workshop enjoyably, not feeling a twinge of guilt about a hazard/risk you are pretending to ignore.

6. Avoid distractions. This could be a young child running around, a pet underfoot, a TV playing the current game, the clock in the corner ticking away the remaining shed time, alcohol (etc), tiredness. If you are in the workshop to be productive, then be productive.  If you are there to kill some time (a perfectly reasonable justification for being out there), then don’t start playing with things that will bite – enjoy the game on TV or whatever.  Just don’t mix all the activities together.

7. Leave the workshop, and the tools in it, in a state ready to be used for the next project or time.  There is nothing that starts off a session in the workshop in the wrong way than feeling a rush to get cleaned up, then having to rush the task at hand.

8. Work like the world is watching, and judging your approach to safety. Work like you would expect someone you were supervising to do, when you are responsible for their mistakes, and safety.

9. You know when you are not doing the right thing. So stop making excuses and just do it.

10. You know when you shouldn’t be out in the workshop – things don’t go well, you get frustrated, rush, are distracted etc. When you know you shouldn’t be there, don’t be there.

Not a “top 10” or anything, just a few tips (10 in fact) for improving workshop practices.

2 Responses

  1. Great tips Stu. I have a relatively small shed and keeping it neat is critical.

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