ARI Blog: Article

Restoration Contractors: Woodworking Safety


Restoration contractors (and their sub-contractors) must often work with wood and woodworking equipment. However, using woodworking can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly, and common injuries can include lacerations, amputations, blindness and severed fingers. Additionally, wood dust can contain hazardous chemicals, which can lead to skin irritations or respiratory diseases.

With that in mind, OSHA has put together a list of tips to help keep employees safe while working with wood:

  • Use the right equipment. Operate machines only for work specified by the machine manufacturer.(For example, only mount blades, cutter heads or collars on machine arbors that have been properly sized and shaped to fit these parts.)

  • Train workers. On any given machine a worker is operating, he or she should understand all of the controls, know how to stop the equipment in case of an emergency, and be trained on the safety procedures for special setups. Additionally, OSHA notes that employees should be able to demonstrate their ability to run the machine with all safety mechanisms in place.

  • Regularly inspect equipment. Keep records of all inspections to help ensure corrective action will be taken, operators on all shifts are made aware of any potential danger, and that any problems can be detected and resolved as quickly as possible.

  • Practice caution. Workers should not operate woodworking equipment if the guard or any other safety device is not working properly.

Other tips include:

  • Remove cracked or damaged blades from service.

  • Clean saws with a brush. Do not clean with bare hands or while the machine is running.

  • Never leave a machine unattended in the “on” position.

  • Keep floors free of debris, dust and protruding nails that could cause trips.

  • Do not allow workers to wear loose clothes when operating woodworking machinery.

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