How many times do we hear – especially during Wood Workers Safety Week – that safety is job number one? The primo position. Right there on the top of the list.
But, what are jobs number two, three, four and five? How about job number 12? Those are mill, joint, cut joinery, assemble, sand and finish, right?
Not so fast, chief.
True, it’s only fitting and appropriate that before we start working in the shop, we take the time to do the right stuff. Splitter or riving knife on the table saw? Check. Push sticks handy? You got it. Loose stuff off the floor so you can’t trip on it? Oh yeah.
After that, though, do we continue to put safety on our list? I mean, it’s easy to fall into a pattern when we’re working. We’ll get on a roll and allow offcuts to build up on the table saw top. Or, we’ll maybe forget to grab those safety glasses sitting on the workbench across the room. Maybe that cut we swear up and down is too risky to make while we’re out of the shop doesn’t look too challenging while we’re at the workbench. Or, we’ll work until we are well past tired and want to make that proverbial “One Last Cut.” You know the one that leads to many injuries.
It’s easy to become lax as we work… making the safety at the top of the list argument an afterthought before we make the boneheaded move that requires us to reach for the first aid kit or – heavens forbid – the phone to dial 9-1-1.
I can’t take credit for this outlook. I’m an advocate of Mike Rowe’s argument that safety is indeed job three… and many other slots on that list. Maybe I didn’t make the point clearly enough, but perhaps Mike can convince you. Check out this link to hear his explanation for yourself.
As we work our way through Wood Workers Safety Week, take a look at your safety practices. Check out your safety gear. And remember, the most important safety device that you own rests between your ears. Use it.