The timber manufacturing industry continues to advance at a rapid pace. New technologies and equipment are quick to be adopted by many workshops. But new equipment also comes with safety concerns for unfamiliar or untrained employees. While it is nominally your employer’s responsibility to look after workplace safety, all equipment operators should play an active role in their own safety. For those working with timber processing equipment, we have four key safety tips for staying healthy while at work.
1. Wear All Protective Equipment
Modern workplace safety standards have come a long way. The introduction of mandatory safety and protective equipment was a major step forward for workers all over Australia. Workshops and manufacturers that deal with dangerous equipment should be providing all at-risk employees with protective equipment. Wearing simple protective pieces such as face shields and earplugs will improve workplace safety and reduce your personal risk of injury.
While it can be tempting to cut corners, a single mishap is all it takes to cause serious harm. Remember too that some workplace injuries may not present themselves until years later. Simple hearing loss, for example, could take years to develop. The best way to look after your own safety is to wear all protective equipment when operating woodworking machinery.
2. Maintain Sharp Blades, Cutters and Bits
From saw blades and router bits to interchangeable knives, drill bits and planing knives, woodworking equipment uses a broad variety of tooling. While it may seem counterintuitive to ensure all tooling is kept sharp, sharp cutters are far safer than blunt ones.
Blunt saw blades, knives and router bits pose a much greater risk to operators. Rather than making smooth, clean cuts, blunt tooling increases the risk of kickback and dangerous splintering. Issues such as these can cause serious injury, especially on high feed rate equipment and production lines. Replacing worn tooling or using sharpening equipment to reface or hone blunted knives can drastically improve operator safety, overall productivity and the quality of finished components.
3. Disconnect Power When Changing Cutters
Using sharp, high quality cutting tools and saw blades is a great way to improve workshop safety. But, whenever operators are changing tooling or servicing machines, the equipment should be disconnected from mains power. Modern woodworking machinery is supplied with robust safety systems and controls that improve operator safety. However, accidents and failures do occur, so disconnecting the power supply is a quick and easy way of guaranteeing workplace safety.
4. Request Safety and Equipment Training
All woodworking and machinery shops should be providing their operators with detailed equipment and safety training on a regular basis. If training has not been carried out, or where operators lack the confidence to use certain equipment, it is a good idea to specifically request a training session. Tailored training programs assist operators to manage their risks, enhance their skills and improve the quality of their workmanship. Training courses should always be adjusted to suit the skill level of those involved and to provide the information they need to become more effective machinery operators.
In the same vein, if you notice safety or maintenance concerns around your workplace, be sure to report them to your safety supervisor. Taking an active role in your own safety is key to the proper functioning of workshops and maintenance of equipment.
Stay Safe with Equipment and Training Solutions From Stirling Machinery
Protecting the safety of your employees is the top priority at Stirling Machinery. We supply a wide range of tailored woodworking machinery and safety solutions that speed up production while also improving operator safety. We design and supply commercial woodworking equipment solutions that are ideal for professional workshops of all shapes and sizes. To help you get more from your equipment, we also tailor training programs to protect your team and provide the skills they need to operate all equipment safely. Contact us today for more information on our woodworking equipment and training solutions.