Woodworking Shop Safety is easy to learn and put into practice.  Read over the steps below  and you will learn to love to work with wood . You know there can be drastic accidents, they are entirely preventable.   Go over these seven steps and you gain  control at all times.  An accident is a loss of control. Accidents do not just happen.  You can maintain entire control of your shop environment with the right mental preparation. No accidents are all up to you and the decisions you make.

Safety is first a mental decision

1 ] Safety starts in the mind. The very first step is make a decision not to have an accident. Sounds a little too simple perhaps?  Bear with me.  With every single woodworking tool there is a well established safe procedure.  Stop what you are doing now and go over the procedure.  Most accidents happen with table saws.  Persons who have had accidents say they wish they had previously made of habit of never putting hands and fingers in the path of the blade.  Stand there at your saw and make a no uncertain decision to : first , observe the blade , the material and automatically place the hands well away from the path of the blade.  That one is easy. Do it every single time , by habit.

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Fatigue is the enemy of safety

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2] Fatigue is the trigger for accidents. This is when reaction time is slowed. This is when distraction is high, because fatigue is a type of pain. 

Statistically at the end of a hard day or multi day session, accidents occur.

This too, you can prevent by deciding beforehand to knock off , or switch to other activities like organizing, cleaning , etc.

Visualize the work flow and procedure first

3] Visualize and or simulate how materials will feed through machinery and where they will fall off.  Figure first where and how materials are stacked and ready. Will any of this arrangement interfere with or come in close contact with the blades?    If a long piece to be cut is not supported on the out take, will this force you to use excessive pressure to hold down an end near the operating blade.  If so, this is asking for trouble.

Engineer and think through the whole process before you begin. 

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Lower blade exposure to the minimum

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4] Before any cut , lower the table saw blade such that it’s height is barely over the thickness of the piece to be cut.  Do this automatically, it only takes a few seconds.

Stop watching Youtube videos and home shows when a table saw is in use.  Almost no one follows simple and sound safety measures.  Do not let these bad examples sink in.  Think for yourself and think ahead for every detail.  That is the key to keeping fingers.

Fingers are good, you will see.

This is one of the most important steps , get that blade so it just barely clears the material being cut.

This one step alone will prevent many accidents 

Slow and steady around operating machinery

5] Do not hurry when machining wood.  Do not follow the example of some carpenters you see in the field throwing houses together.  Be systematic , methodical. Be wise.  Do one thing at a time, at a reasonable pace. A pace that feels comfortable. You are in charge of keeping fingers and eyesight. No one else.  Do not let the atmosphere of a job take precedence in your mind , especially if it is cavalier.

Learn all the tricks first before you work

6]   Get to know the tricks and jigs.  For example, a cross cut sled for a table saw facilitates cutting very small pieces entirely safely. 

A traditionally designed cross cut sled lends itself to easily clamping small pieces in place. This keeps hands and fingers far from the blade. 

When you must cut a short piece on a power miter saw , then keep correctly sized pieces of wood handy , so they can be used to hold the material. Leaving fingers and hands far from the blade.  

Simple steps like this are so easy to do. Safety is all a matter of making these decisions before you ever start.  Further, if you have persons working for you, carefully go over every individual safety procedure for each machine

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Keep all equipment in top shape

7] The seventh step is to stay on top of maintenance of all equipment.  If something is loose , fix it. If something is broke or breaking , replace it.  Get to know every feature of all machines. Read the manuals. They go over safety issues for a very good reason. Replace blades when they are not sharp any longer. Dull blades cause resistance and contribute to kick backs.

Every single accident is easy to prevent by thinking out and visualizing each step before you begin. Before your employees and colleagues begin, implant the mentality of up front total control of every aspect in the art of wood working.

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