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When it comes to working with wood, it pays to be safe. Woodworking hazards come in all shapes and sizes, taking the form of both more obvious physical dangers and hazardous substances that can be the cause of debilitating conditions.
We’ve put together this safety gear list of wood workshop essentials so you can go to work without fear of injury or illness.
When working in a wood workshop, your eyes are at some risk of being damaged. Whether it be by clouds of sawdust from sanding, fragments of wooden debris from hammering in nails, or from the fumes given off by the chemicals used to treat woods, you could end up impacting or even losing your sight. That’s why a good pair of woodworking safety glasses/goggles are absolutely essential.
Make sure to look for scratch resistance, wraparound lenses, and maybe even UV protection if you’re regularly outside.
You may not consider this, but a workshop can be a noisy place. With all the power tools in use, such as drills, saws, and sanders, you’re likely to be exposed to a lot of loud noises throughout your working day, and even if you don’t seem to mind in the moment it can do serious damage to your hearing over time. Woodworking ear protection generally takes the form of muffs that can be placed easily over the top of your head and are often very cheap, so there’s no excuse!
You can even get some models that feature Bluetooth, so you can listen to music while you protect your ears from the background noise.
Much like in the case of safety glasses, your face is an access point for all sorts of hazards. When using a tool such as a lathe, sander, or power saw, you’re likely to create some flying chips of wood, and if one of these makes its way into your face, it’s going to hurt a lot more than the average splinter.
There are plenty of cheap face shields on the market, while you can also find sturdier ones and even ones that work in conjunction with goggles for more comprehensive protection.
Along with protecting your actual face, you need to think about the areas from which you breathe. Hardwood dust has been linked to rare forms of nasal cancer, along with the general respiratory problems that it can cause or contribute to, so you should always be wearing at least a face mask while in the workshop.
If you’re working with paints, sealants, or gases, a mask is unlikely to cut it, and you should always keep a respirator on.
Along with these woodworking-specific items, there are things that those working with their hands should always be prepared with, including cut-resistant safety gloves, hard-toed boots, and a good work apron. These items are in place for the more general hazards that you can find in a workshop, and they should remain in rotation for as long as you work in the industry.
Remember, whenever looking for your own safety gear for woodworking or any other form of physical labor, browsing the range of a trusted brand with plenty of reviews is the best practice that you can undertake, as if you go for something too cheap or obscure, it might cost you dearly. Now back to work, and stay safe.