321EL Husqvarna

Picked up this chainsaw from Clayton Mowers yesterday in preparation for slabbing on the Torque Workcentre.


It is electric, which has advantages and disadvantages. Limited to a 16″ blade, it is 2000w, or the equivalent of a 2.8HP / 45cc petrol. That is still pretty punchy so it’ll be interesting to see how well it goes.

Not going to have the fumes etc in the shed that I would have otherwise have gotten with a petrol unit, and with Clayton Mowers running a Husky special at the time, as well as some extra horse trading, I got it with change from $440, including bar oil. Also means I will be able to use it in situations where OHS regs would otherwise prevent its use (demos, woodshows etc).

For the equivalent power & bar size in petrol would have cost $850

My preference would have been for a 24″ chainsaw, but then in a cheap brand it is over a grand, and close to $2k for a decent saw. So in context, doesn’t seem at all bad for such a reputable brand.

Now to commission it- certainly will be easy to start!

OHS Issues in Xmas Songs

Conflict of Interest Health , Safety & Equality Considerations for Christmas Songs

1. Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way .

A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh is considered safe for members of the public to travel on.

The risk assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if passengers are of larger proportions. Please note, permission must be gained from landowners before entering their fields. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we would request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

2. While Shepherds Watched

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around .

The Shepherds Union has complained that it breaches Health and Safety regulations to insist that shepherds watch their flocks without appropriate seating arrangements being provided, therefore benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available. Shepherds have also requested that, due to the inclement weather conditions at this time of year, they should watch their flocks via CCTV cameras from centrally heated shepherd observation huts.

Please note, the angel of the lord is reminded that before shining his / her glory all around he / she must ascertain that all shepherds have been issued with glasses capable of filtering out the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and Glory.

3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

You are advised that under the Equal Opportunities act, it is inappropriate for persons to make comment with regard to the ruddiness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from the Reindeer Games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence. A full investigation will be implemented and sanctions – including suspension on full pay – will be considered whilst this investigation takes place.

4. We Three Kings

We three Kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star.

Whilst the gift of gold is still considered acceptable – as it may be redeemed at a later date through such organisations as ‘cash for gold’, etc. – gifts of frankincense and myrrh are not appropriate due to the potential risk of oils and fragrances causing allergic reactions. A suggested gift alternative would be to make a donation to a worthy cause in the recipient’s name or perhaps give a gift voucher.

We would not advise that the traversing kings rely on navigation by stars in order to reach their destinations and suggest the use of RAC Routefinder or satellite navigation, which will provide the quickest route and advice regarding fuel consumption. Please note as per the guidelines from the RSPCA for Mr Donkey, the camels carrying the three kings of Orient will require regular food and rest breaks. Facemasks for the three kings are also advisable due to the likelihood of dust from the camels’ hooves.

5. Away in a Manger

Away in a Manger
No Crib for a bed.

DHS should be immediately contacted as mangers are not suitable places of rest for newborn babies due to unsanitary conditions, sharing with animals, lack of proper ventilation and no access to running fresh water and heating. Therefore under no circumstances should a crib be put in a manger. A risk assessment should also be carried out before allowing animals to occupy said manger – are there tethering facilities, running water, and food receptacles. If not, the manger should not be used and the animals should be removed and housed elsewhere (but still not with the Baby Jesus).

You must be fully cognisant of your responsibilities re a full declaration/conflict of interest considerations/Asset register.

Safety Practicability in the Workshop

Safety is an ideal that we all attempt to achieve, by one method or another. Some people claim their safety is purely achieved through a state-of-mind – they concentrate on every thing they do so that there is no need for additional safety equipment (such as guards, splitters etc on tablesaws).  Others use more elaborate devices (featherboards, pushsticks, (yeah, really elaborate) etc).  Even more elaborate, power feeders, SawStop.

So at what point is it no longer practical to pursue absolute safety?  When it is no longer practicable.  This is a term regularly, heavily used in OHS circles – we do the best we can to ensure absolute safety as far as it is practicable.  And for our own workshops, we make this decision all the time, or choose to avoid it (which is more often the case).  What I would encourage of you, is to try to be as safe as is practicable – make that your goal – don’t avoid safety because it isn’t convenient, but apply the practicability test.  If it is practicable to do something, then do it – don’t avoid safety for any less reason.

So what is practicability, if you haven’t come across the term before, and particularly if you thought I was misspelling practical.

From the Free Dictionary:

Capable of being effected, done, or put into practice; feasible

An example they give to show the difference between practical and practicable is:

For the purpose of ordering coffee in a Parisian café, if would be practical (that is, useful) to learn some French, but it still might not be practicable for someone with a busy schedule and little time to learn.

From our world: “It might be practical for workshop safety to own a SawStop tablesaw, but for many of us, because of the price, it is not practicable.”

In other words everyone is different – their requirements are different, their skills are different, their financials are different, their risks are different. Safety in your workshop is not a one solution fits all situation, and for each person what they should be doing to be safe as far as it practicable is different.

Some people can afford SawStop, some can’t.  Must you have one to be safe?  It might be nice, but it is not practicable for everyone.  I pick on SawStop because it is a great safety device, out of financial reach of many, so makes a great example of the practicability of safety.

So be safe out there, as far as it is practicable.

SW09 – Risk Assessment

A really good first step when trying to improve your environment and practices to increase your overall safety, is to know just what you are trying to guard against, minimise, or eliminate.

So step 1 really is to conduct a Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment.

There are a number of different formulae for quantifying risk (threat), and the one that I prefer is one that takes into account the risk, the frequency of the risk and the degree of consequence.

In other words, if we look at the activity “standing outside without moving” what are the risks? (And no, this is not going to be comprehensive)

bird poo
falling whale (if you are a Hitchhikers fan) (or a Hancock fan!)
falling cow (if you are a Monty Python fan)
falling bus (if you are a Speed fan)
falling asleep

Next, what are the consequences (a scale that can be applied across all risks)

0 no short or consequence
1 minor inconvenience (little delay)
2 significant inconvenience (such as having to go back to Bunnings for more supplies)
3 limited damage (minor cut/abrasion)
4 moderate injury (stop work for running repairs)
5 significant injury (hospital/doctor attendance)
6 temporary disability / acute condition
7 permanent disability / chronic condition
8 dismemberment
9 death

Then a scale for likelihood of exposure to the risk

0 never
1 very unlikely
2 one to three times a year
3 monthly
4 weekly
5 daily
6 hourly
7 minutely (yeah I know that is not the right word, but the spell checker allowed it!)
8 continuous

And finally, a fudge factor – a user-applied modifier to allow common sense to be included in the calculation.  These numbers are then all multiplied together to provide a numerical risk value

Now I haven’t modified the above-numbers, but you may want to make the scales logarithmic.  So death has a factor of 1000 vs 100 for dismemberment for example.  Continuous risk is 100, vs weekly 10, or however you feel the balance is right.

So lets work through the above-scenarios.

risk consequence occurrence fudge result
sunburn 4 5 1 20
bird 1 3 1 3
whale/cow/bus 9 0 1 0
asleep 3 2 1 6

So now we have some numbers that we can use to assess the various perceived risks

We are more likely to suffer consequence from falling asleep when we get so bored standing around waiting to be hit by a flying whale, than suffering from a bird poo strike.  Neither are significant, so no further action is required.

However, sunburn is a real risk – it has moderate consequence (even higher if you get burned regularly, so that is where the fudge factor needs to be increased), and a likely occurence.  Stand around all day, and you will get burned if steps are not taken. (‘scuse the pun)

Now we have identified a risk, we need to deal with it.

There are 4 ways of dealing with a risk

1. avoidance (elimination)
2. reduction (mitigation)
3. transfer (outsource or insure)
4. retention (accept and budget)

In this case, we can
1. avoid (don’t stand around outside)
2. reduce (wear suntan lotion, sunproof clothing etc)
3. transfer (pay someone else to stand around outside)
4. retention (accept you are going to get burnt, so have some cream ready, and budget for skin cancer)

Hmm – guess if I need to be outside, and can’t avoid it, then suntan lotion and a shirt/hat etc is probably the best option.

Risk has been managed.

So now, we need to look inside our workshops, identify all the risks, and manage them.  There are a whole swag (you will be surprised) of risks, and how you choose to deal with them will make for whether you work in a safe environment or not.  I’m not proposing you wrap everything (and everyone) in cotton wool or bubble wrap, but getting into the habit of identifying and managing risk is a useful tool, especially when you can quantify it, and then determine where the budget is best spent.

For example, I’d look at each tool, and the risks associated.  I’d then separately look at the types of injuries and ensure that we have taken into account all the potential risk areas.  And finally, I would look at the shed as a whole, and pick up any that have slipped through.

Some things to factor in (and in no particular order, but these are all risks in my shed)

spiders (I have a number of redbacks (black widows))
dust (I generate a LOT of dust! Dust impacts on me both acutely (which causes snoring, which results in sleeping on the couch, which results in a sore neck…) and chronically (wood dust is regarded as a carcinogen in Australia)
mercury vapour if a fluro tube is broken
slips, trips, falls
cuts – sharp blades, knives, etc

and so on.

Remember too, that the risk is not only to you, but also family/visitors, pets, and neighbours (such as venting all your sawdust out of the shed (great transfer of risk, but not a great way to make friends with your neighbours!)

Give it a try, start small (as in don’t try to identify absolutely every single risk first up, just try a few main ones), and see what sort of figures you come up with.
You will find it interesting which risks actually pop to the top of the list. For example, in my shop I imagine that dust would be the number 1 risk, even though dismemberment by sawblade is a risk, it is a lot less likely if managed properly.

Sunday Ramblings

Had a pretty good woodworking weekend (by my standards anyway).  As mentioned before I made some sawdust yesterday for another video – again not a how to (yes, I really do want to do some how-to’s again!), but a review of the GMC Unlimited Rebate Planer.

While talking of reviews, the one on the Full Width Planer has been quite popular with our regulars, and with a couple of our younger readers / watchers – gidday Jack and Tom 🙂

Northwood’s latest email newsletter has been sent out, with an interesting dig at Carbatec (not that they actually say Carbatec, so I’m reading between the lines and there isn’t anyone else I can think of that fits the specific bill).  Like other smaller independent suppliers, they have had some results from the deranging of Triton and GMC from Bunnings.

I’m sure it has a huge impact on GMC, but I can’t help but think that (to drag out an old cliche) it (the deranging from Bunnings) could be a blessing in disguise. They have already been bringing out a range of tools that continues the product improvement directions they have been heading for a long time (and for those that doubt that, you should see the GMC Tablesaw I have in my shed, purchased in 2001).  There are also a lot of developments in the retail sector as mentioned. I’m sure there will be a lot more news over the coming months on that account.

Had the Triton club meeting today – a massive 10 people turned up which is a real contrast to its heyday (which coincidentally was when I was President of the club) when membership was well over 70. It is disappointing, and I think it really does spell the end of the club realistically.  As numbers keep dropping, it becomes very difficult to invite new members along, as there isn’t a sufficient core of regular members there to meet. It’s almost to the point that a (potential) new member walks in the door, is welcomed, and you could next offer one of the committee positions (of course that doesn’t happen, but you know what I mean!)  The dropping commitment is particularly noticable, as I have to be there, so there is a long term, ongoing commitment there that I have to fill each and every month, so it is a shame when others don’t have the same commitment (and no, I’m not meaning any specific individual here, it is a generalised observation).  I have to be there, because for OHS and liability reasons (for Holmesglen) a member of staff MUST be present for the facilities to be used, and of course I am that person because of the short courses I run for Holmesglen.  FWIW, I have been a member of the club for over 6 years now, 2 as president.

So that’s enough rambling at this stage – more to come when I discuss today’s activities (post -club meeting).

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