Whether done as a profession or for personal home improvement, woodworking can be a rewarding pursuit. There is nothing quite like being able to turn a plain block of wood into something truly useful. Because modern woodworking requires the use of so many different tools and machines, it can also be dangerous. One of the best ways to protect oneself against the hazards of woodworking is by purchasing the right safety equipment, which guards against both present danger and the long-term health hazards that woodworking can present.
Woodworking safety equipment
Woodworking safety equipment includes protective gear that serves to mitigate the risk of immediate injury during woodworking. This means protecting workers against risks of bodily injury such as cuts, abrasions, and even electrocution. Woodworking safety equipment can refer to both the equipment that workers wear, as well as equipment fitted to woodworking equipment to increase safety.
One of the most prevalent risks of woodworking is debris such as wood chips and sawdust entering and damaging the delicate eye area. Woodworking safety glasses or goggles can help to mitigate this risk by putting a barrier between airborne debris and a worker's eyes.
Workers may choose to wear safety glasses that cover only the front of the eyes, safety goggles that wrap around the side of the face, or full face shields that protect the eyes, face, and neck. The right choice depends upon the type of woodworking. For small projects, safety glasses may suffice, while more elaborate woodshops may require face shields to protect against high levels of sawdust as well as hazardous chemicals.
A worker's hands are an essential tool in woodworking, but are also frequently in dangerous situations during the course of a project. Safety gloves are the most essential type of hand protection to buy for a woodshop. Like eye protection, safety gloves are available in different styles and shapes.
Longer gloves that cover the arms and even the elbows are ideal for working with hazardous chemicals like certain wood lacquers or paints, while shorter cut-resistant gloves are good for handling sharp objects or blades. Gloves can also be useful when working with machines that cause a great deal of vibration, such as sanders, as they can absorb some of that vibration and therefore make workers more comfortable.
Woodworking health protection equipment
In addition to immediate safety risks, woodworking can also present health hazards that manifest in long term illness. Luckily, there are safety precautions that can help to mitigate these risks.
Inhaling sawdust over a long period can actually put workers at risk of developing certain cancers and respiratory problems. For this reason, any woodworker or woodshop owner should be sure to shop for dust masks. These masks cover the nose and mouth and filter incoming air of hazardous particles while cutting, sanding, or whittling. Disposable filtration masks as well as washable cloth masks are both good, affordable solutions for any woodshop to have. These masks cover the nose and mouth to provide air filtration and prevent the inhalation of dust particles.
Power air respirators
For those woodworkers who spend long periods in shops with high levels of dust, power air respirators can be a great investment. These full-face masks actually use battery power so that workers receive a continuous stream of filtered air while working. They can also take the place of safety goggles since they cover the whole face, although they are more costly than a disposable or cloth option.
Woodworking equipment can be extremely loud, making it dangerous to be around for long stretches without ear protection. Wearing muff-style hearing protection while working around loud equipment helps protect against long term hearing damage.
For quieter equipment, passive earmuffs that cover the ear and block out noise work well. For louder equipment, noise cancelling muffs that actually electronically block the noise around are a great choice. Most importantly, be sure to shop for ear protection that is comfortable to wear, otherwise it can be tempting to go without them.
How to buy safety equipment for woodworking on eBay
Shopping on eBay is a great way to find the right safety equipment for woodworking at a good price. Start by doing a keyword search using the search box on any page of the site. Enter terms that describe what you are looking for, such as "safety glasses" or "dust masks". When you get the page results, you can then use the available filters to narrow them down. With the right woodworking safety equipment, you can be confident that you are doing what you can to stay safe.