Do you love working with power tools? If you are a DIYer like myself my guess is that you love the sound of zinging, zooming, hammering, slicing and the smell of wood cutting. Nothing gets me more excited and then I want to stand on a mountain and grunt like Tim the Tool Man!
Often in the midst of the excitement or the rush to get something done its easy to forget to put on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Nothing could kill this buzz faster than an injury due to carelessness and failure to use PPE.
When working with power tools, safety gear is very important to prevent injury. Here is a list of basic safety gear with descriptions to follow. PPE is essential for a job not only well done but safely done.
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- Eyes glasses or goggles
- Ear plugs – I use 3M Band Style Hearing Protection
- N95 – Mask
- P100 – Mask
- Work gloves
Safety Glasses/GogglesNo matter what power tool I am using, a drill, driver, nail gun, sander, or saw the most basic essential PPE is safety glasses. It doesn’t take much for a piece of metal or wood to fly up and get ya right in the eye. Safety glasses are super cheap and protect your most precious assets. I keep several pairs lying around and it only takes a couple seconds to apply them.
I don’t need to use these for every power tool but I have found that the repetitiveness of a nail gun firing right next to my ear gets a little irritating. It is especially important to wear ear plugs with louder tools like saws. I prefer the kind that has the neck strap which makes it easy to rest it around my neck when they are not in use.
If you can just use those two pieces of PPE you will prevent many injuries and long term ill health effects.
To take it a step further I often times wear a mask if I will be around particulates for a longer period of time. An N95 mask is perfect for most household projects and the most commonly used mask. The N indicates non oil proof, while the 95 means it filters 95% of particulates from NON oil based products such as dust, insulation, allergens and mold. An N95 mask is best with sanding, grinding, water based paint, welding, sawing and fiberglass insulation. These masks do not protect from gases or fumes.
P100 For 100% protection from non oil based and oil based products use a P100 mask. The P100 indicates oil proof, it filters 100% and is considered high efficiency (HE). I use a P100 for staining, spray painting, oil based paints, spray adhesive, and demoing. Masks are not the most comfortable thing, can be somewhat of a nuisance and lets face it they really aren’t that sexy, but I think you would agree that lungs are pretty important.
Work GlovesAs an added bonus I added work gloves. Although work gloves are not recommended while operating most power tools, especially saws they are still important for home projects. A good leather work glove is perfect for working with sharp objects, picking up and moving wood and demoing.
Remember to also keep your hair pulled back, wear closed toe shoes, and keep loose clothes tucked away.As a final tip I suggest implementing your own personal safety process. For example before surgery the surgical team does a time out. During the time out they verify the correct patient, correct procedure and correct body part. PPE is worn, under a sterile environment to protect the patient and the surgical team.
I have implemented a similar practice when working with my most dangerous power tools, a saw. Before starting the saw I take a time out. I ask myself is this the correct piece of wood, correct cut, correct measurement, correct safety equipment. Not only does this save time, money and frustrations with avoiding cutting mistakes but this pause causes me to slow down, focus, and make sure I am paying attention to the task at hand.
I hope this post has helped you with getting the basics for Power Tool PPE and implementing a system in place for safety.
Do you have a routine or practice you have implemented into your safety routine? I would love to hear it.