Reinforcing good safety habits

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Forum topic by mnorusis posted 08-25-2010 03:07 PM 2019 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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157 posts in 4483 days

08-25-2010 03:07 PM

So I’ve been thinking a bit about how I can be safer in the shop. Since my job as a programmer necessitates that I have most of my fingers, I figure it’s in my best interest to ensure that I keep them all! Since I have not taken any woodworking classes, I feel like I should spend some time researching safety tips.

One thing I’m curious about is if anyone does anything specifically to ensure they do certain things safely or to make sure you use your safety gear. For example, after buying some ear protection, I would often forget to put them on until 1/2 way through cutting whatever I was cutting, so I made myself get in the habit of always plugging my ear protection into my iphone and listening to music while I work. That way I don’t take the ear protection off. Previously I would just listen to the radio so I’m used to listening to music while I work anyways (I feel that it helps me focus), but listening to it through my ear protection ensures that I have them on while working on whatever project I have going at the time.

If anyone else does things a certain way to ensure you work safer, I’d love to hear about it.


10 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


18140 posts in 4346 days

#1 posted 08-25-2010 03:19 PM

i have hung up my safety glasses, ear muffs, and respirator right next to the door to the shop. Everytime i walk in i cant help but notice them which usually gives me a friendly reminder to wear the safety gear. I had an older cabinet maker neighbor for a few years and he told me somethin one day that struck a chord …. “All the hero’s are dead kid, Marlboro man … dead, wear your safety gear”

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7934 posts in 4254 days

#2 posted 08-25-2010 04:19 PM

”I made myself get in the habit of always plugging my ear protection into my iphone and listening to music while I work.”

No offense intended but how is replacing one noise with another any better? Headphone music is the leading cause of hearing loss in most countries, especially among the younger crowd. Just my 2 cents worth.

But who am I to say, as I lost much of my hearing decades ago in a Navy engine room WHILE WEARING both protective headphone type protection PLUS ear plugs at the same time. I have since been living with tinitus from the early seventies to present.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View mstenner's profile


57 posts in 4494 days

#3 posted 08-25-2010 04:51 PM

HorizontalMile, Mike is probably using in-ear headphones or the ear-muff style that have speakers in them. I use in-ear headphones myself. They provide quite a bit of isolation (they’re basically earplugs with earbuds built in) for protection from your tools. That isolation makes it easy to play music (or podcasts in my case) at a reasonable volume.

Mike, I find with a lot of habits that if you force yourself for a while (with zero tolerance) then some things will become so habitual that it’s hard to do it the “wrong way”. I ALWAYS wear safety glasses when doing anything remotely handy. At this point, if I’m taking a drill to the wall to hang a picture, I feel really weird without my glasses. I try not to fight that :) It took me a while to get there, though.

The most important thing I do is force myself to stop and think “is this the best way to do this?” If it’s not, take the time to do it right. That may mean building a little jig to make things safer. I know that’s a “duh” bit of advice, but it’s a VERY active process for me, and one that I need to be very conscious about, especially if I’m tired or in a hurry.

-- -Michael

View DeputyDawg's profile


196 posts in 5305 days

#4 posted 08-25-2010 05:18 PM

I did a research on the topic of a thought wave and found out it takes a micro millionth of a second to have a thought wave. I designed and made signs that are all over my woodshop that are triangles that are yellow with black lettering that have the words BE SAFE on the top of the triange. Coming up the left side of the triangle it says
THINK and going down the right side it says TWICE. People are taught to read left to right top to bottom. Looking at signabe a sign that is straight, level, and every word all in line is boring, but one that isn’t draws your attention. Think for a micro millionth of a second about what might happen if you don’t do something or what might happen if you do something and the possibilities of things that could happen. Like running that driver off the road that just cut you off. Maybe there is a child on the sidewalk that just got hit by that car that you ran off the road. A lot can happen that you won’t expect if you don’t “THINK TWICE” before making that move. And I DO NOT LISTEN TO THE RADIO in the shop. I would rather listen the the machine or listen for any other unexpected noise that might be a problem. That’s my two cents

-- DeputyDawg

View Randy's profile


397 posts in 4787 days

#5 posted 08-25-2010 05:29 PM

I have made a habbit of always wearing my safety glasses, i dont need a reminder i just always put them on. When constructing jigs i always think “what can i incorporate into this that will allow me to perform the operation safely?” I think the biggest safety concern in a shop is using tools in a way that they were never intended to be used.(ive done it-usually because of lack of experience) I have learned to always take the time to figure out a safe way of doing it. If that means take the time to build a jig, thats what i do.

-- RKWoods

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 4820 days

#6 posted 08-26-2010 04:40 AM

I find staying alert is the best way to stay safe. I always wear eye protection, usually hearing protection with certain tools like the router and planer. I also use good dust collection and air filters. But I keep reminding myself to pay attention and dont let my mind wander for even a second. Stay focused

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 4404 days

#7 posted 08-26-2010 10:54 AM

Think how it would be easy for you remember. A long time friend of mine told me one time, that he use to put a note in a clear pouch or laminate it. Then he put it over the power switch, he said it worked for him until he learned safty first.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View mnorusis's profile


157 posts in 4483 days

#8 posted 08-26-2010 04:09 PM

Some great feedback!

@HorizontalMike, I use the ear muff style ear protection ( The ear protection keeps me safe from the loud noice of my machinery, thus allowing me to set the volume of my music to a comfortable level (not everyone plays their mp3’s at top volume :-)

@mstenner, that’s similar to something I read on LJs recently (but I can’t find it now). Someone wrote something to the effect of, before I cut anything I stop and think, what about this procedure is stupid? Like you mentioned, that’s a great thought to have go through your head before doing anything, one which I’ll be putting to use.

@chrissted, that’s a great idea. I currently keep my glasses in a wall cabinent (I really enjoy having everything put away in it’s place), which may be why I forget to use them sometimes. I think it’s time I find a more prominent spot for the glasses out in the open, somewhere I will see them before starting any work so I can’t help but remember.


View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4323 days

#9 posted 08-26-2010 04:40 PM

I have found that if you want to get yourself into the safety habit, bring a kid into the shop. Theres no better way to practice safety than by example. Safety comes in many forms and I have found that by teaching kids woodworking, that if I should by chance become complacent in the safety rules, the kids will also remind you of the safety rules you taught them.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View cowboyj's profile


10 posts in 4255 days

#10 posted 08-27-2010 05:21 AM

When using certain tools, I always use eye and hearing protection: any powered saw, router, jointer, planer. I always use eye protection at the drill press. I always use hearing protection with a power sander. This habit is reinforced by keeping protective gear in a central, conveniently-accessed, location. Also, don’t let yourself vary from the habit for the sake of expediency.

Another idea I try to use is to pay attention to your inner voice of caution. If you are about to perform some operation that gives you the slightest safety concern, stop, and consider alternatives. Saw blades and router bits can hurl a piece of wood with surprising force, so always be mindful of how you are feeding a piece to a power tool and where your fingers are going to be.

-- Jerry

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