Woodworkers put low priority on safety

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Forum topic by 8iowa posted 03-02-2008 04:04 PM 1529 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1580 posts in 3755 days

03-02-2008 04:04 PM

Safety is not a high level interest among woodworkers. We have hard evidence of that right here on this forum. There are 884 topics under “Woodworking tools, Hardware, and Accessories”, and only 55 topics posted under “Safety in the Woodworking Shop”. The magazine editors must realize this. When they do reviews of their advertiser’s products they rate tools every which way, but safety is never mentioned. It looks as if the scene at the emergency rooms is not going to change.

Unless attitudes change, products will continue to be manufactured with safety as a lower priority, and with noise levels that accelerate hearing loss. Perhaps the “bright spot” is the fact that more and more woodworkers are interested in dust control systems.

Check out the safety videos on

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

23 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 03-02-2008 04:31 PM

That would be your opinion. There are just so many safety features, or methods and as new one are come
across they are posted. With “Woodworking tools, Hardware, and Accessories” there are hundreds of not thousands of existing or new products to post about. So I would think that “only 55” is a very high ratio.

Many posts are not posted as safety, but as ways to do things better and safer.

But that’s just my opinion.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#2 posted 03-02-2008 04:47 PM

and don’t forget that the safety section of the forums is relatively new.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3869 days

#3 posted 03-02-2008 05:00 PM

For months, every woodworking magazine I get has been talking about riving knives and European blade guards.

-- -- --

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3758 days

#4 posted 03-02-2008 05:29 PM

Safety varies from person to person, I’m sure a good percentage of people don’t read the owners manual. Then there are the people that are allways in a hurry and are careless. I think it’s a unfair statement to say that woodworkers in general don’t care about safety. If you want to point the blame somewhere, take a look at some of the home improvement shows that show homeowners that have very little, if any power tool experience, in a hurry trying to remodel a kitchen in a day. It’s a reciepe for disaster and some really shotty work.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#5 posted 03-02-2008 05:35 PM

I don’t know that there isn’t a high level of interest in safety as opposed to a complacency about it at times. I believe that most are safety conscious but at times tend to take the more expedient path- much like not buckling your seat belt when in a hurry. Saws are run without riving knives and blade guards because it is easier to do so than to put them on and off when switching to dado operations. At times expediency trumps caution and accidents do occur- but they always happen to someone else, right?

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 3834 days

#6 posted 03-02-2008 05:52 PM

I think that you (the OP) has contorted the safety post ratio to support a theory without doing any due diligence on the subject.

I think that you’ll find a similar ratio on any online forum that caters to a hobby or sport which endangers the participant. In particular, one which I used to engage in, vertical caving, with a much higher risk factor, the numbers were lower than this!

I think more than just armchair analysis is required before labeling this as some sort of legitimate statistic. I do however believe that a lot of woodworkers do it their way because it was the way they were taught, but this occurs in any type of human based meme.


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4294 days

#7 posted 03-02-2008 06:19 PM

If a person has no safety conscience, he’s not going to read about anyway.

But don’t stop writing about it, he may decide to look some day.

It’s like they say about cars,”Its the Nut Behind the Wheel”

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4062 days

#8 posted 03-02-2008 06:54 PM

I try to operate with the mindset that I’m scared to death of my tools. This tends to keep my mind on the dangers. I read an article on kickback once that was interesting. Most of those polled understood that kickback was a danger and knew that pawls and push sticks help solve the problem. However, very few actually understood what caused the danger. I find this alarming as the knowledge of why it happens is paramount to prevention.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4309 days

#9 posted 03-02-2008 07:25 PM

Sorry to jump and sound sour, but being involved professionally in many different aspects of construction. I’ve had my full share of “safety”. A two week course as an apprentice in the union. A week long course with yearly 8 hour updates to work in oil refineries. A two week course of study to start a college level woodworking program. I’ve come across plenty of OSHA horror stories. I’ve got a bunch of 5 gal buckets with pictures of drowning babies…50 page legal documents telling me how to safely use a palm sander! Here is what I think needs to be done if we really care about safety.
A) Throw out the “Legal” warnings and place real ones on the packaging. Big red flammable tags are great! Being told I need to wear safety glasses to run a sander…bull!
B) Fix the tools on the manufactures end. If the guard on my saw breaks because it is a thin plastic I’ll keep using it on the job..because that is how I survive. Next time you check out miter saws check out the differences in how thick the guard plastic is. Cheap saw…not always.
C) Construction sites are dangerous because we are always pushing for speed and to do it cheaper. Low bid! Until quality and integrity are true work place and commercial values safety will just be a “band aid” on an broken leg.

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 3756 days

#10 posted 03-02-2008 07:39 PM

Just too much of a jump to somehow extrapolate the number of post on a single forum, to a reality that woodworkers are living life on the edge and going deaf in the process.

And I really don’t appreciate the inference that I, or woodworkers in general, are somehow to blame for product features.

If anything, we live in a litigation-crazed society that has replaced personal responsibility with an attitude of “If anything happens to me I’m going to sue someone because it’s not my fault no matter how ignorant or careless I am.”

View alien's profile


7 posts in 3766 days

#11 posted 03-02-2008 08:18 PM

As far as saftey goes i’ve have notice on many DIY shows on TV as well as online,that no one uses the saftey shields that comes with their table saws or any type of aftermarket shield that many of us would be interested in using.I don’t feel that we need to see the saw blade ripping a piece of lumber up close as they demonstrait. I was always taught from child hood and many indutrial settings Always keep the saftey shield in place. In fact when I was in my late teens working for a small company i cut the tip my right index finger on a table saw with no shield! I have been very agressive about having the shield in place ever since. I understand in some procedure in woodworking you have to remove the guard to complete the project, any other time the guard should be in place no matter how much of a hassle it is to take off and put back on!

-- Alien

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4164 days

#12 posted 03-02-2008 08:25 PM

I’ve got to jump in here. I teach basic woodworking to primarily women and young people. I teach safety with every tool used as it is introduced.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

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Bob #2

3809 posts in 4016 days

#13 posted 03-02-2008 09:57 PM

eightIowa saisd.

” When they do reviews of their advertiser’s products they rate tools every which way, but safety is never mentioned. It looks as if the scene at the emergency rooms is not going to change.

I was taken by this statement.

Do you have hard evidence that the accidents reported to the emergency areas are in fact those related to professional woodworkers or is this more of a suposition?

I have searched several times around the internet for such information and I am unable to locate it.
For what ist’s worth automobiles are the largest killers of people yet all that is required is a valid drivers license and you can buy or rent a Ferrari and drive it in traffic.

I agree with you in principal but I don’t support they way you are drawing your conclusions.
I’m also not too happy being lumped in with you assesment of “woodworkers”.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3890 days

#14 posted 03-02-2008 11:34 PM

The fact that all my woodworking friends have all ten fingers and most can hear very well, I think is plenty of evidence that, at least my friends, do indeed think safety.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#15 posted 03-02-2008 11:55 PM

and the point of the post is: think safety.
Good message.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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