Safety comes first in DIYs, home construction, and craft projects—always. Being safe is usually pretty simple, but it's often overlooked.
Whether you're just excited to finish a project or you're new to the world of tools, you need to make sure your space is safe, and that you know how to use everything you need to, safely.
Especially when you're using power tools, you run the risk of getting seriously hurt.
The Danger Zone
ER visit after ER visit means that even seasoned tool-users have a few things to say about tool safety. One major power tool danger is your saw. If you remove the safety on your saw for a special cut, immediately put it back on. You may forget that the guard isn't there and lose a finger or two in the process.
It's also important that you safely store your table saw if you live in a house with little kids. Curious minds can lead to cut fingers if the blade isn't locked.
If you're using any power tool on a ladder, you need to be doubly safe. Power tools are, well, powerful and on a ladder, you are less than perfectly balanced. Have someone hold the ladder when possible, and when it's not possible, make sure the ladder is very secure and on flat ground.
Danger zone number three comes in a sneaky form: messes. Messes in your workstation can be incredibly dangerous. Tripping on scrap wood or a pile of extension cords can have detrimental consequences. Make sure your workspace and walkway are clean before you start your project.
Any tool or project that involves electrical work is doubly dangerous, so be cautious there too.
It's also important that you keep your tools really clean. Rusty tools are less reliable than clean ones, trust us on that one.
Lastly, you want to make sure that you're focused. Getting distracted makes your power tools perilous if you're not careful. If you listen to music and podcasts while you work, know your limit.
Don't let compelling content make your mind wander. We've seen a grown man pass out after sending a nail gun nail through his hand while talking to a friend, so keep those distractions to a minimum too. I someone wants to chat, maybe don't use your power tools while talking.
The first, and most important, step to staying safe while using tools is to learn how to use them safely. If you don't have a seasoned-tool user to teach you, hop online and watch videos all about the tool. Learn how it works. Learn about where the danger lies. Learn about the potential risks involved with each tool.
And then really learn how to use the tool, well. Your specific brand of tool may come with tutorials, but we recommend using any resource you can so you know how amazing these tools can be, and you learn about the potential dangers.
When you start using power tools for the first time, start small. Don't take on an entire home renovation on day one. Get familiar with your tools and only take on projects that you feel you can safely tackle with your skill level.
If you're using certain power tools, you need safety equipment. Protective eyewear and ear coverings are always a good idea, as well as gloves. If you plan on using lots of different power tools, we recommend making up a power tool kit and having glasses, earplugs, and gloves always on hand for your projects.
Keeping your hands free is also another way to stay safe with power tools. Use a tool belt to keep everything close by and out of your hands.
If you have an assistant while using power tools, use their help to make sure that you're focused on the task at hand, not distracted or trying to hold a million things while wielding a drill.
We also recommend that you keep a first aid kit on hand. You can make your own or purchase one, but when using power tools, you definitely have to have one. We also recommend that you keep copies of your insurance card in the kit just in case you get a little cocky and end up losing a toe.