It’s no secret that safety hazards abound in woodworking shops. From sharp cutting edges to highly combustible wood dust o heavy lumber being loaded and unloaded, some perils are just part of the business. But that doesn’t mean the safety of workers and the business should be placed
at risk. Here are three hazards facing woodworking businesses and
strategies for mitigating the risk of
property damage and injury.
Wood dust has been making
It is highly combustible in the
headlines as it was recently added
to California’s Proposition 65 list
of known carcinogens. But these
tiny particles pose an even more
immediate threat to worker safety
and business longevity with the
potential for fires and explosions.
presence of an ignition source.
If wood dust builds up within an
enclosure, added pressure can
cause a destructive explosion.
Such fires and explosions are
usually ignited by naked flames,
faulty or unsuitable electrical
equipment and devices and impact sparks.
To help reduce the risk of a
catastrophic fire, ensure electri-
cal equipment is protected from
the buildup of sawdust and locate
electrical panels, transformers,
and other electrical equipment as
far as possible from dust-produc-
ing equipment. All dust-produc-
ing operations should have dust
control equipment available, and
use equipment that includes pre-
cautions against explosions. Also,
ensure all equipment is serviced
and maintained on a sched-
uled preventative maintenance
program, and ensure ventilation
ducts are not blocked.
Finally, good housekeeping
goes a long way. Clean floors,
walls, ledges and even ceilings on
a regular basis. Recommended
wood dust control measures are
outlined in the National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA)
standard 664, “Prevention of Fires
and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities.”
Safety tips to protect your business.
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