A wood shop can be one of the most dangerous workplaces that anybody can work in. Heavy machinery, its fast-moving components and sharp objects are just some of the many risks associated with working in a wood shop. If you're considering taking on a job that requires you to work in this environment, you may have some hesitations regarding safety.
Of course, there are many rewards in learning your way around this setting. You learn useful skills that can be used to produce decorative or essential items, depending on your abilities. It's a great opportunity to gain access to equipment that you most likely don't have the financial resources or space to implement in your home.
What are the risks?
Before you commit to the job, you should consider the risks that you'll face on a daily basis. You'll definitely undergo training, but you never know what might go wrong. After all, an incident could be due to an equipment issue rather than human error, which may be out of your control.
Three risks you can expect include:
- Equipment maintenance: There are many parts to each machine, and a small problem can turn into a big one that can become dangerous. For example, a worn sanding belt can be on the brink of breaking. If it's not changed and is pushed beyond its limit, it can snap while the machine is running and can then hit someone. It'll continue to be a hazard until the machine is shut off.
- Human error: Working in a wood shop requires strong attention to detail. You have to ensure that you're dressed properly – with gloves, safety glasses, slip-resistant boots and more, depending on what you're doing. Additionally, you have to keep best practices in mind, such as ensuring that pieces are held down properly before drilling or cutting into them. Otherwise, they can spin out of control and the pieces themselves or the equipment can injure someone.
- General shop hazards: Maintenance of the shop is essential. Sawdust is a very prevalent problem. Not only is it bad for people to breathe in, but it can also be a slip hazard, underscoring the need for work boots. Sweeping up the sawdust at least once on a daily basis will help keep everybody safe.
Working with and around heavy machinery requires safety on different levels. Steel-toed boots may or may not be required, but it's never a bad idea to err on the side of caution. Figure out what other pieces of safety gear are required and invest in ones that fit properly.
Essential skills such as attention to detail, an ability to work in a distracting environment and a basic understanding of machinery are necessary as well. Additionally, you should never hesitate to ask for a review on how to use a machine if you're unsure about any steps. Always verify that you know exactly where and how to engage emergency stop controls before working on a machine. Knowing the equipment well can also help you stop the machine if someone else encounters a problem.
Familiarize yourself with the people who are responsible for maintaining the machines and ask about warning signs that you should look out for and let them know when you think that there may be a problem with a piece of equipment.
If this sounds like your ideal job, get started now and apply for positions. Remember to stay safe and enjoy your work!
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