The safety of members and visitors in personal woodworking shops and at the Woodworkers Guild of Georgia (WWG) events is of utmost importance. The potential for injury exists when using sharp hand tools, power tools, or when exposed to airborne dust, loud noises and toxic chemicals.
For these reasons, the WWG encourages you to use personal protection equipment (PPE) having at least the characteristics and quality of the following proven items in potentially dangerous situations:
Simple, minimal eye protection:
Simple spectacles or goggles – notice the shields on the sides of the lenses to prevent dust or objects from striking your face or eyes from the side.
Full-face mask for eye and face protection:
If you would like more complete eye and face protection, consider a full-face style of mask. This is particularly effective for woodturners or in situations where there could be a lot of flying particle debris.
Simple, minimal hearing protection:
These are made of stiff foam or a soft silicone material; they should be cleaned after each use. They may be corded or non-corded and may include a carrying case. Insert properly to get the highest possible protection; if a plug doesn’t make a good seal, it won’t protect your hearing. Soft foam fits a wider variety of ears than preformed devices; you may need a different size for each ear.
Extra hearing protection:
This style is intended for use in noisy environments. They can be hot and heavy for long-term use, but are easy to use and wear, fit most people, and are easy to keep clean. They may be more difficult to get a good fit with glasses, and might interfere with other protective gear.
Disposable dust masks:
This style of disposable dust mask provides simple, minimal breathing protection from particles (e.g., wood dust) over about 5 microns in size – look for the label “NIOSH N95” on the package (an efficiency rating meaning the mask blocks ~95 percent of particles 0.3 microns in size or larger).
Reusable dust masks:
This style of mask typically features a light plastic or soft rubberized frame with an adjustable head strap, plus a replaceable fiber filter. This style offers simple, minimal breathing protection similar to the disposable dust masks described above.
Breathing mask with reusable filters:
If you decide to graduate from simple, replaceable masks, you can move to this more sophisticated style. It may offer one or more activated-carbon air filters to protect against fine particles as well as organic gases and vapors. It may be powered/battery-driven to provide positive-pressure ventilation around the face.
Further information on safety standards and procedures
- Information about wood dust and air quality issues in wood shops can be found here:
- information on hearing protection and safe sound levels is available here:
Safety Tips: we advise Guild members to take these precautions in their own shops
- Install dust collection and room air filtration systems to minimize airborne particles and sawdust.
- Use aerosols and direct application of toxic finishes/chemicals only outdoors or with adequate in-shop ventilation.
- Regularly maintain and adjust tools to minimize potential problems; check for proper lubrication, belt tightness. Use proper tool guards.
- Wear appropriate eye and hearing protection.
- Be wary of rotating machinery – it takes only an instant for a rotating bit or spindle to grab loose clothing and hair.
- Remove watches, bracelets and rings.
- Do not wear gloves, sleeves below the elbow, or loose-fitting clothing; tie back long hair.
- Do not use fabrics, cloths or rags near rotating tools – paper towels are safer.
- Do not hold work by hand when drilling; secure all work with clamps or vises.
- Do not use bare hands to hold small pieces of wood or thin boards while drilling.
- Remove sharp chips, cuttings and debris from machines only with a brush, rake or vacuum – not your fingers!
We highly value your membership in the Woodworkers Guild of Georgia and want to foster safe practices among our members. On request, our Membership Director will provide all members with a basic safety equipment package. Our Patron Sponsors offer a wide variety of safety equipment similar to examples shown on this page.
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