Keep Workshops Clean, Dry, Safe

Keeping workshop and storage spaces clean and dry can help prevent many accidents. Sparks can ignite scraps, sawdust and solvents. Water can conduct electricity. Do not stand in water, on damp floors or in the rain when working with electrical tools. Keep hands and tools dry.

Make sure workshops and storage areas have the proper electrical wiring and outlets needed to run power tools. Install adequate wiring to handle the electrical load required.

All outlets should have three pronged plugs or be double-insulated. Any outlets that may come in contact with water should have ground fault circuit interrupters.

Never use indoor tools outside. Use only approved outdoor extension cords. Use one long extension cord instead of several short ones. Do not damage or cut extension cords.

When working on ladders or scaffolding rest power tools on a flat surface or in a bin secured to the ladder itself. A falling tool can seriously injure a co-worker or bystander. Never carry heavy power tools up and down ladders.

Stop working and turn off the power tool you are working with if distracted by something or someone. Never look away from your work when operating a power tool.

Cutting tools can be particularly dangerous. If one stalls, switch off the power and unplug the tool before trying to restart it. When using a power saw, let the saw reach full speed before cutting and support the work firmly so it won’t shift.

Never use your hands to clear scraps from a sawing worktable. Use a long stick instead.

When working with metal, secure the metal materials with clamps or in a machinist’s vise to keep it from moving.

Take extra care when working with hazardous materials. Handle fiberglass with care. Its particles can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system.

When soldering, remember that lead solder is toxic. The work area should be ventilated and flammable material properly stored.

Source: Maine Farm Safety Program, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service