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Its never a bad time to think about safety at home and in the workplace and I thought that I would start this thread to allow members to post and learn more about general safety.  I invite members to comment and discuss safety related topics.  Everyone is spending more time at home over the past year and there are lots of projects that are being planned and executed so its important to do the job safely for your own sake and for the sake of your loved ones.  Our actions have consequences not just for ourselves but for those we love and care about as well.  Among my responsibilities when working in the energy sector was the handling of fatal accident investigations and in almost without exception unsafe work practice  was a key element in the accident.  Hazard awareness, proper training and adhering to safe work procedures always and without exception are key to performing the work safely and returning home to your loved ones at the end of the day.  

In light of the experience of fellow DFS member PhilNH5 I thought that I would kick off this thread with some Table Saw Safety Information.  I discussed the idea with Phil and he is fully supportive of the initiative.  The list of safety tips below are the work of Mr. Chris Baylor which I found online.  I think its a good starting point that we can discuss and add to as we see fit.  I'm sure we can add details for discussion - I know I have a few.  Please feel free to weigh in on table saw safety or any other safety related topic.

12 Table Saw Woodworking Safety Tips
Written by Chris Baylor

Chris Baylor
The Spruce Crafts
Updated 06/27/19

The table saw is probably the most widely-used woodworking machine in the woodshop. Statistically, it is also likely the most dangerous, as more debilitating injuries seem to be a result of using the table saw than any other woodworking power tool.
Does that mean that the table saw cannot be used safely? Of course not. By taking proper, common-sense precautions, a woodworker can considerably reduce the possibility of injury when using a table saw. Here are twelve safety tips that every woodworker should keep in mind before using a table saw:

Wear Safety Equipment
When using power tools, wearing the appropriate safety equipment should be considered mandatory. The woodworker should always wear safety glasses and hearing protection, but appropriate clothing should also be considered. Loose fitting clothing, neckties, and jewelry are all hazards to avoid when using a table saw.

Keep the Area Clean
When using a table saw, keep the table and surround area clear of stock, cutoffs and excess sawdust. Any of these can get in the way or impair the woodworker's ability to make safe, clean cuts. A loose piece of stock could become a projectile if it contacts a moving blade.

Check Safety Features
Before beginning any table saw task, always check the safety features of your table saw to make certain that they're set and functioning properly. The saw blade guard, riving knife, and anti-kickback pawls are designed to protect the woodworker and should be adjusted properly before the power is turned on.

Use Outfeed Tables/Stands When Appropriate
When cutting large pieces of stock, such as a full sheet of plywood, position an outfeed table or stand to help support the stock. Using these helpers will make the pieces being cut more stable, and the cut easier to complete.

Always Disconnect Power Before Changing Blade
Before changing the blade or making any other internal adjustments on the table saw, the woodworker should always disconnect the power to the saw. This will eliminate the possibility that the saw could be inadvertently turned on while the table saw is being worked on.

Do Not Start the Saw With the Blade Engaged
When preparing to start the saw, the woodworker should check to be certain that the blade is spinning freely, and not engaged in the stock. Once the motor is turned on, the blade should be allowed to reach full speed before beginning the cut.

Maintain a Good Position
When standing at the table saw, the woodworker should maintain a good, solid stance with a wide base to keep a good balance. Additionally, one should not stand directly in front of the blade, so if a kickback should occur, the stock will not kick back into the body but will slide past the operator's midsection.

Never Reach Over a Moving Blade
The operator should never reach or make any fence or blade adjustments while the blade is still moving. Instead, wait until the blade comes to a full stop before reaching or making any adjustments.

Use Proper Inserts
When using a table saw, the proper zero-clearance blade inserts should always be used. When using a stacked dado blade, a proper insert should also be used. Without a blade insert, a piece of stock could fall into the saw cabinet and become a projectile.

Never Free-Hand a Cut
When using a table saw, the woodworker should never attempt a free-hand cut. Instead, use the fence or miter gauge to guide the stock. However, keep in mind that the fence and miter gauge should never be used together, as the end grain of a piece of stock can bind against the fence.

Check Stock for Foreign Objects
Before beginning any cut, the woodworker should visually check the board being cut for any foreign objects such as a screw, nail, staple or even a loose knot in the wood. Any of these can come loose and become a dangerous projectile if it comes in contact with a spinning blade. A specially-designed metal detector is great for checking for hidden fasteners in stock, particularly when working with the recycled material.

Use a Push Stick
When the board being cut has less than about six inches width of stock away from the blade, a push stick should be used to help push the board through the blade. This will help keep the woodworker's fingers safely away from the blade. Proper push sticks can be built in the shop or purchased at any fine woodworking supplier.

ALI, HighSpeed and ShadowsDad like this post

Idaho Falls, Idaho
Power tools.  Love them but man, a momentary lapse and disaster strikes.

Marko likes this post

Central Maine
Added to the list for table saws and in fact any power tool, NO DISTRACTIONS! I go so far as to lock the shop door. The wife has a tendency to burst in and startle me at the absolute worst time.

Well, some of us have shooting ranges on our land and others use public or private ranges, and there are millions of new firearm owners in just the last few months that know nothing about their new firearms (seriously). There are a few key safety rules that expert and neophyte all MUST adhere to no matter where or what they shoot.

I shoot competitively and the competitions require running and fast movement with loaded firearms. I have never heard of an accident at one of these competitions anywhere on the planet because the safety rules are strict and 100% adhered to. To break just one means disqualification and an immediate halt to that competitor shooting for the day. Certain behavior means banishment forever. One mistake can be fatal so they are NOT tolerated. You need to make that your standard as well.

The following comes from the NSSF website. It's all really common sense, but common sense seems to be in short supply. The list is lacking my rule #11... Guns and alcohol DO NOT mix! Anyway, what follows is the NSSF list of rules.

While you’re at the shooting range or anywhere you handle a firearm safety ALWAYS comes first there are 10 Rules of Firearms Safety and the first four are the big ones.

Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction. This is the most basic safety rule. If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they didn’t intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents. It’s as simple as that, and it’s up to you.

Never point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot. This is particularly important when loading or unloading a firearm. In the event of an accidental discharge, no injury can occur as long as the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction.

A safe direction means a direction in which a bullet cannot possibly strike anyone, taking into account possible ricochets and the fact that bullets can penetrate walls and ceilings. The safe direction may be “up” on some occasions or “down” on others, but never at anyone or anything not intended as a target. Even when “dry firing” with an unloaded gun, you should never point the gun at an unsafe target.

Make it a habit to know exactly where the muzzle of your gun is pointing at all times, and be sure that you are in control of the direction in which the muzzle is pointing, even if you fall or stumble. This is your responsibility, and only you can control it.

Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. When not in use, firearms and ammunition should be secured in a safe place, separate from each other. It is your responsibility to prevent children and unauthorized adults from gaining access to firearms or ammunition.

Unload your gun as soon as you are finished. A loaded gun has no place in or near a car, truck or building. Unload your gun immediately when you have finished shooting, well before you bring it into a car, camp or home.

Whenever you handle a firearm or hand it to someone, always open the action immediately, and visually check the chamber, receiver and magazine to be certain they do not contain any ammunition. Always keep actions open when not in use. Never assume a gun is unloaded — check for yourself! This is considered a mark of an experienced gun handler!

Never cross a fence, climb a tree or perform any awkward action with a loaded gun. While in the field, there will be times when common sense and the basic rules of firearms safety will require you to unload your gun for maximum safety. Never pull or push a loaded firearm toward yourself or another person. There is never any excuse to carry a loaded gun in a scabbard, a holster not being worn or a gun case. When in doubt, unload your gun!

Don't Rely On Your Gun's Safety. Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time. The “safety” on any gun is a mechanical device which, like any such device, can become inoperable at the worst possible time. Besides, by mistake, the safety may be “off” when you think it is “on.” The safety serves as a supplement to proper gun handling but cannot possibly serve as a substitute for common sense. You should never handle a gun carelessly and assume that the gun won’t fire just because the “safety is on.”

Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you actually intend to shoot. Keep your fingers away from the trigger while loading or unloading. Never pull the trigger on any firearm with the safety on the “safe” position or anywhere in between “safe” and “fire.” It is possible that the gun can fire at any time, or even later when you release the safety, without you ever touching the trigger again.

Never place the safety in between positions, since half-safe is unsafe. Keep the safety “on” until you are absolutely ready to fire.

Regardless of the position of the safety, any blow or jar strong enough to actuate the firing mechanism of a gun can cause it to fire. This can happen even if the trigger is not touched, such as when a gun is dropped. Never rest a loaded gun against any object because there is always the possibility that it will be jarred or slide from its position and fall with sufficient force to discharge. The only time you can be absolutely certain that a gun cannot fire is when the action is open and it is completely empty. Again, never rely on your gun’s safety. You and the safe gun handling procedures you have learned are your gun’s primary safeties.

Be Sure Of Your Target And What's Beyond It. No one can call a shot back. Once a gun fires, you have given up all control over where the shot will go or what it will strike. Don’t shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike. Be sure that your bullet will not injure anyone or anything beyond your target. Firing at a movement or a noise without being absolutely certain of what you are shooting at constitutes disregard for the safety of others. No target is so important that you cannot take the time before you pull the trigger to be absolutely certain of your target and where your shot will stop.

Be aware that even a 22 short bullet can travel over 1 1/4 miles and a high velocity cartridge, such as a 30-06, can send its bullet more than 3 miles. Shotgun pellets can travel 500 yards, and shotgun slugs have a range of over half a mile.

You should keep in mind how far a bullet will travel if it misses your intended target or ricochets in another direction.

Use Correct Ammunition. You must assume the serious responsibility of using only the correct ammunition for your firearm. Read and heed all warnings, including those that appear in the gun’s instruction manual and on the ammunition boxes.

Using improper or incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury. It only takes one cartridge of improper caliber or gauge to wreck your gun, and only a second to check each one as you load it. Be absolutely certain that the ammunition you are using matches the specifications that are contained within the gun’s instruction manual and the manufacturer’s markings on the firearm.

Firearms are designed, manufactured and proof tested to standards based upon those of factory loaded ammunition. Handloaded or reloaded ammunition deviating from pressures generated by factory loads or from component recommendations specified in reputable handloading manuals can be dangerous, and can cause severe damage to guns and serious injury to the shooter. Do not use improper reloads or ammunition made of unknown components.

Ammunition that has become very wet or has been submerged in water should be discarded in a safe manner. Do not spray oil or solvents on ammunition or place ammunition in excessively lubricated firearms. Poor ignition, unsatisfactory performance or damage to your firearm and harm to yourself or others could result from using such ammunition.

Form the habit of examining every cartridge you put into your gun. Never use damaged or substandard ammunition — the money you save is not worth the risk of possible injury or a ruined gun.

Occasionally, a cartridge may not fire when the trigger is pulled. If this occurs, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your face away from the breech. Then, carefully open the action, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge in a safe way.

Any time there is a cartridge in the chamber, your gun is loaded and ready to fire even if you’ve tried to shoot and it did not go off. It could go off at any time, so you must always remember Rule #1 and watch that muzzle!

Discharging firearms in poorly ventilated areas, cleaning firearms or handling ammunition may result in exposure to lead and other substances known to cause birth defects, reproductive harm and other serious physical injury. Have adequate ventilation at all times. Wash hands thoroughly after exposure.

Always Wear Eye And Ear Protection When Shooting. All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses and some form of hearing protectors while shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, and adequate vision protection is essential. Shooting glasses guard against twigs, falling shot, clay target chips and the rare ruptured case or firearm malfunction. Wearing eye protection when disassembling and cleaning any gun will also help prevent the possibility of springs, spring tension parts, solvents or other agents from contacting your eyes. There is a wide variety of eye and ear protectors available. No target shooter, plinker or hunter should ever be without them.

Most rules of shooting safety are intended to protect you and others around you, but this rule is for your protection alone. Furthermore, having your hearing and eyes protected will make your shooting easier and will help improve your enjoyment of the shooting sports.

Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no ammunition is in the chamber or magazine. Be sure the barrel is clear of any obstruction. Even a small bit of mud, snow, excess lubricating oil or grease in the bore can cause dangerously increased pressures, causing the barrel to bulge or even burst on firing, which can cause injury to the shooter and bystanders. Make it a habit to clean the bore and check for obstructions with a cleaning rod immediately before you shoot it. If the noise or recoil on firing seems weak or doesn’t seem quite “right,” cease firing immediately and be sure to check that no obstruction or projectile has become lodged in the barrel.

Placing a smaller gauge or caliber cartridge into a gun (such as a 20-gauge shell in a 12-gauge shotgun) can result in the smaller cartridge falling into the barrel and acting as a bore obstruction when a cartridge of proper size is fired. This can cause a burst barrel or worse. This is really a case where “haste makes waste.” You can easily avoid this type of accident by paying close attention to each cartridge you insert into your firearm.

Don't Alter Or Modify Your Gun, And Have Guns Serviced Regularly. Firearms are complicated mechanisms that are designed by experts to function properly in their original condition. Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufacture can make the gun dangerous and will usually void any factory warranties. Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others by altering the trigger, safety or other mechanism of any firearm or allowing unqualified persons to repair or modify a gun. You’ll usually ruin an expensive gun. Don’t do it!

Your gun is a mechanical device that will not last forever and is subject to wear. As such, it requires periodic inspection, adjustment and service. Check with the manufacturer of your firearm for recommended servicing.

Not all firearms are the same. The method of carrying and handling firearms varies in accordance with the mechanical characteristics of each gun. Since guns can be so different, never handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized yourself with the particular type of firearm you are using, the safe gun handling rules for loading, unloading, carrying and handling that firearm, and the rules of safe gun handling in general.

For example, many handgun manufacturers recommend that their handguns always be carried with the hammer down on an empty chamber. This is particularly true for older single-action revolvers, but applies equally to some double-action revolvers or semiautomatic pistols. You should always read and refer to the instruction manual you received with your gun, or if you have misplaced the manual, simply contact the manufacturer for a free copy.

Having a gun in your possession is a full-time job. You cannot guess; you cannot forget. You must know how to use, handle and store your firearm safely. Do not use any firearm without having a complete understanding of its particular characteristics and safe use. There is no such thing as a foolproof gun.

The Basic Rules of Firearms SafetyHunting and target shooting are among the safest of all sports. This list is intended to help you make them even safer by emphasizing the basics of safe gun handling and storage and by reminding you that you are the key to firearms safety.

You can help meet this responsibility by enrolling in hunter safety or shooting safety courses. You must constantly stress safety when handling firearms, especially to children and non-shooters. Beginners, in particular, must be closely supervised when handling firearms with which they may not be acquainted.

Don’t be timid when it comes to gun safety. If you observe anyone violating any safety precautions, you have an obligation to insist on safer handling practices, such as those on this site.

Follow the safety procedures outlined here, develop safe shooting habits, and remember, firearms safety is up to you.


HighSpeed likes this post

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(This post was last modified: 01-07-2021, 03:11 PM by Marko.)
My wife does that too - I'm focused on whatever and she appears without warning  Undecided

A few more thoughts that you might think are obvious but I've seen done (I worked in the building trades as a carpenter in the late 70s-early 80s):

- When ripping a narrow piece off a wider board always ensure the wider part passes between the blade and the fence.  I"ve seen a narrow piece of material get fired out of the saw and imbed in a solid wood wall.  That would ruin your day if you caught it in the belly.

- The time taken to make a cross-cut sled and feather boards never wasted.

- If you've got a project that will involve cutting lots of components, take the time to plan the sequence of the cuts so you can execute them in the safest manner possible, ie, if you have some pieces that will be small, its best to cut them from larger stock first so that you aren't left with a bunch of small pieces to cut even smaller pieces from.  This will keep your fingers away from the blade as much as possible. 

- If there is the possibility of kids or other people entering your shop when you're not around then have a power lock out for the table saw and other dangerous tools.

- Don't operate the table saw when you are fatigued. Things go sideways very fast and a moment's inattention or poor decision can have catastrophic consequences.  It goes without saying that alcohol and drugs and power tools don't mix.

Super Moderator
If you’re planning to make multiple units of a particular project either to sell or to gift to family and friends then it’s worth your while to make jigs for both safety and efficiency. If the construction of the jig isn’t self-evident you can find resources online to assist and instruct. Well made jigs can save time and fingers. 

Always consider the safest alternative procedures. For example if you need to cut rabbets or dados it’s probably safer to do it with a router clamped into a router table than in your table saw with a stack dado set. Whichever process you use always consider the width and depth of the cut and the species of wood you’re using and consider taking multiple shallow passes to achieve the final cut. If you’re trying to take a 3/4” x 3/4” dado out of a piece of oak and try to do it in one pass you’re going to see smoke from the wood and probably the motor too if you try pushing to fast. 

I like power tools as much as any guy, however, there is something very Zen about using good, sharp hand tools. Consider whether you’re going into your shop to crank out product or to relax. The sound and feel of a well honed plane iron slicing a paper thin sheet of wood from a board is very satisfying. The process of preparing the hand plane and the plane iron is equally satisfying. It has a similar meditative quality to what you get from a nice shave.

Freddy likes this post

New Brunswick, Canada
(01-04-2021, 07:09 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Added to the list for table saws and in fact any power tool, NO DISTRACTIONS! I go so far as to lock the shop door. The wife has a tendency to burst in and startle me at the absolute worst time.
Confused2 I dunno. It doesn't seem like a good idea if you end up on the floor screaming for help for any reason.
Is it a flimsy lock that can be easily kicked in? 
Or one of those "privacy" locking knobs that can be defeated with a short bit of coat hanger wire, or large paperclip (conspicuously hanging nearby).

[Image: 670px-User-Completed-Image-Pick-a-Lock-w...4.16.0.jpg]

Marko likes this post
"So I'm sorry that you're psychotic but just make an effort. Pull yourself together and take a deep breath." - Hannah Pitt (Meryl Streep), in "Angels in America"

Super Moderator
(01-11-2021, 03:06 AM)John Rose Wrote:
(01-04-2021, 07:09 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Added to the list for table saws and in fact any power tool, NO DISTRACTIONS! I go so far as to lock the shop door. The wife has a tendency to burst in and startle me at the absolute worst time.
Confused2 I dunno. It doesn't seem like a good idea if you end up on the floor screaming for help for any reason.
Is it a flimsy lock that can be easily kicked in? 
Or one of those "privacy" locking knobs that can be defeated with a short bit of coat hanger wire, or large paperclip (conspicuously hanging nearby).

[Image: 670px-User-Completed-Image-Pick-a-Lock-w...4.16.0.jpg]

Thats a great point John Rose  - I'm not sure what the solution to not being startled is.  Most people dont intend to startle you but you're just so focused that it happens - maybe a doorbell that activates a gently flashing light I don't know.  

For sure being locked in to your shop might hinder a first responder or your spouse coming to your aid.  I think a lot of us work in our shops alone when there is nobody home so a better thing might be to have you cell phone nearby ready to hit 911 or whatever the emergency number is in your locale.  Doing hazardous operations alone is risky.  If things go bad on a table saw you can lose a lot of blood very fast and if you're alone and unable to get assistance you could bleed out so it wouldn't be a bad idea to have someone with you whenever you're doing the high risk stuff but the problem is most of us don't consider routine cutting to be high risk until its too late. 

 I knew a guy who had an accident doing a stop plunge cut with a 3/4" dado, things got a bit hairy because that's a lot of force and he put his hand on the material to stabilize it and of course it happened to be at the location where the dado blade emerged from the material as it was pushed down. It caught him on the inside of the wrist and almost amputated his hand.  If there hadn't been other people at the site its entirely possible he wouldn't have made it due to combination of blood loss and shock.  Personally I thought that was a crazy dangerous way to achieve the operation he wanted and I would have considered a safer alternative like drilling a couple of holes and using a guided jigsaw to make the 3/4" slot in the board.

Central Maine
I didn't say it was a good solution, but it was the one I implemented. Now she waits until I shut of the noisemaker. If I die because of the locked door, no it can't be kicked in, then she looks for a new husband. Or she could wait until the noise stops before opening the door, but she won't do that.

Marko likes this post

Super Moderator
(01-11-2021, 07:32 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I didn't say it was a good solution, but it was the one I implemented. Now she waits until I shut of the noisemaker. If I die because of the locked door, no it can't be kicked in, then she looks for a new husband. Or she could wait until the noise stops before opening the door, but she won't do that.

You could have a lighted "Occupied" sign at the door like on airplane bathrooms  Big Grin

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