Woodworking Health and Safety

The health and safety of you and those that work around you are the paramount issues of any woodworking shop. It doesn't matter whose cabinet you are building, it is not worth losing a finger over. Sometimes you forget this fact and you may tend to rush or cut corners to get a job delivered on time.

So, here are a few tips that you can do to prevent for those times when you forget that in the woodworkers world of 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'; Metal beats Flesh, no exceptions.

1) Wear your safety equipment. Steel toe boots, goggles, ear protection, gloves . . . There is no excuse not to wear them. There are so many products on the market, that you can find comfortable safety equipment to wear.

2) Keep your workshop clean. Put things away when you are done with them. Clean the floors of sawdust and shavings. Make sure the path to the sink and first aid kit is always free and clear.

3) Make sure the First Aid Kit is fully stocked. Sure, we always run out of band-aids, but be sure you have the necessary items to stop a large cut, or worse. Clean off the sawdust from the kit regularly as well.

4) Machines come with safety equipment for a reason. Try to get used to leaving the guards on, only taking them off when necessary. Don't let them get covered up and forgotten about.

5) Use sharp and well maintained tools. Not only will you get better results, but a sharp blade is safer than a dull one. Send your blades and bits to get resharpened when they need it. Don't try to save money by stretching your tools past their limit. It will definitely come back to hurt you in the long run.

6) Don't work if your head is not there. If you cannot concentrate on what you are doing, take a break or do some sanding. Get off the dangerous machines. Learn to recognize your state of mind and know when you are most dangerous to yourself.

7) Remove unnecessary clothing and jewelry. Take your ring, loose necklace, and wristwatch off. Don't have any loose clothing that can get caught.


Most of this is common sense. Just take the time to think about what you are doing. And when you get a small cut every once in a while, be grateful. It is a good reminder that you are not invincible.

Yan G.
Author: Yan G.
Professionally trained/educated cabinet and furniture maker, with over 20 years of woodworking business experience.