How to avoid workshop injuries

As nice as home improvement is, it is often associated with certain dangers. Of course it never hits you, because we always work prudently. But is that always the case? I can say for myself that I have survived many dangerous situations only with great luck. However it’s not that difficult to follow some rules to avoid the biggest accident hazards.

The Good old Organization

Anyone who is really passionate about a project knows this situation: The cordless screwdriver is simply put to the side, the remaining screws remain on the floor, the screw clamp lies on the table saw, the chisel next to it. Once we are in the flow, we just pay less attention to organizing. A messy workroom is one of the main causes of accidents in the workshop! If you have to climb over your tool and get twisted to get the next step done, you will provoke an injury. You slip much easier with the chisel, the jigsaw is not properly positioned on the workpiece and jamms, which results in something falling down. In addition to the risk of injury, the quality of your work suffers too. So it makes more sense to think about the organization. To always set the same place for the tools, to immediately put materials and tools that are no longer needed away and put waste and cuttings straight into the dustbin, are just a few examples that should become flesh and blood. As a positive concomitant effect you save the search for tools and additional time during the final cleaning up.

Safety Equipment

As you cannot simply break a scratched bottle, the glass must be brought to the defined break by material tension. To do this, the bottle is alternately dunked into hot and cold water. And now you just need to wait! There are huge differences in the quality of the glass, different side thicknesses, etc. The glass just needs time to break all the way round – it is better to be patient and alternate the process a few more times than to apply unnecessary force. Eventually, the bottle will break into two halves, in the best case at the intended edge. The more uniform the wall thickness of the glass, the better the result. The progress of the break can be seen in the material as the break point gradually reflects more and more.

The next important point is the use of protective equipment. Goggles, gloves, safety shoes and above all hearing protection are justified. No professional craftsman hesitates even a second to protect his health with these tools. As off the handyman’s perspective it often looks different, even though the work doesn’t really differ.

When working with electrical machines, goggles are the minimum requirement. Believe me, I have worked with a lot of equipment and seen many accidents happen. All accidents always arose from a believe „I won’t hurt myself anyway“.  Whether it’s the table saw, band saw, bench grinder, angle grinder or jigsaw – there’s always material flying through the air and thus a high probability that parts of it will get into your eyes. A single spark is enough to cause lasting damage. Also the goggles of today are not as clunky as they used to be, but easy to wear, fog hardly and are quite cheap. With 15 € you get very high quality goggles. Your eyes should be worthy to you.

That our hearing is very sensitive, you realize at the latest, when you have children. Noise causes short‐term headaches, dizziness and even nausea. In the long term, the hearing is impaired and simply diminishes. Once I had to experience painfully, what it feels like to work with a table saw without ear protection for a whole day. Since then I turn on saws, angle grinder & Co. only with protected ears. Especially since it only takes one single movement. Again, the costs aren’t that high. Often simple ear plugs that you wear on a band around your neck are enough. Better is of course the „Mickey Mouse“ – ie the thick ear protectors, which are connected to a bracket and completely enclose the ears. With about 15–20 € you are well protected. In my apprenticeship it was forbidden to wear gloves at work. Now I never work without them. When I speak of working gloves many still think of the thick pigskin leather gloves with which you could not pick up the M8 screw. They are still very suitable for rough work. For lighter activities, however, coated fine knit gloves are best used. They protect against scratches and cuts, can be worn comfortably and allow precise work – perfect for us handymen you get both the light and the heavy gloves for 3–5 €.

Since a year ago a board fell onto my foot, I even replaced my Clogs with some safety shoes in the workshop. They have always been mandatory on my construction sites. The danger of stepping onto screws or nails is just too big. In addition, they protect the toes with the protective cap even in uncomfortable postures, for example, when laying laminate work shoes are divided into different protection classes, with „S3“ being the savest. This means that the shoe has a protective cap and is puncture resistant, so nails can not pierce the shoe. Arbeitssicherheitsschuhe gibt es mittlerweile in den unterschiedlichsten Ausführungen und müssen nicht immer klobig und hässlich sein. Zwischen 30 € und 50 € solltest du aber schon investieren.

Protecting oneself is not that difficult or very expensive. If you still keep your working environment in order, you are already on the safe side. Since we do our hobby out of joy for home improvement, we should also leave us the necessary time for the individual work steps.

Even outside the workshop, work safety is a must. How you successfully protect yourself while cutting firewood, we show you in our Firewood Guide.