I can’t overstate the importance of workshop safety. Don’t wear loose clothing, jewelry, or hair. Your tools come with guards for a reason – use them! If you aren’t sure the action you are about to take is safe, then assume it isn’t and figure out a better way to do it. Keep your work area clean, especially underfoot. If you are using a tool – power tool or hand tool – wear eye protection. The best protection against injury is your brain – it may be soft and squishy but if you use it correctly, you can avoid all kinds of potential problems!
Jig and Fixture Safety
A jig should help you to work safer, so you should have safety in mind during every step of design and use. Think about where your hands will be in relation to the tool when planning your jig. Incorporate some sort of handle into your design so you will be less tempted to place your hands in an unsafe position.
If using a jig or fixture will require you to remove a guard from your tool, add some sort of replacement guard to your jig. A great material for guards is clear plastic – it is easy to find, easy to shape, easy to attach to wood, easy to machine and drill, and it won’t block your view of the work. If you don’t have some scrap plastic available, buy a small sheet of 1/8” or 3/16” acrylic or lexan. A little bit will go a long way. If you don’t need to see through the guard, a scrap piece of wood will do.