Safety Moment Monday: 10/11/21

From time to time, chemists are required to become builders. Sometimes an apparatus needs a little tweak or maybe you’re building something entirely new. I’ve done some metal cutting, drilling, driving (of screws), and sanding in the lab… but I don’t remember having any safety training about those things. Today’s SMM is designed to give you a brief overview of some helpful safety precautions when working with power tools. Did you know that there are many shop situations where gloves can be quite dangerous? For example, a glove won’t protect your hand from a table saw, but it can definitely get snagged and pull your hand into the blade. A ring seems very low-profile, but, if you’re not squeamish, you can read a whole host of stories about removed or destroyed fingers caused by a ring getting caught. It’s easy to become distracted by stabilizing a workpiece and forget to focus on the dangerous tool you are operating. It only takes a moment to be injured when working with power tools, so take a moment to look up the best safety practices before you use one.

Here are a few OSHA documents about shop safety. You probably won’t be using many of these tools, but a lot of the safety practices apply. I would recommend YouTube or Google for specific tools.

“Hazards don’t stop just because you’re not doing chemistry.”
A slide with text and the CSSO logo in the top left corner, as well as a picture of a person drilling a door frame on the right side. The title is Power tools.. The text says "Be careful of anything getting caught in rotating parts from drills, drivers, Dremels, saws, etc. Hair, clothing, jewelry, and even gloves can be a risk. Remove rings because they can snag on things or become crushed. When possible, secure workpieces with a vice or clamp. Do not freehand. Use a coworker if needed. Wear a mask when sanding or grinding. Wear flame-resistant clothing when sparks are present. Wear ballistic-grade safety goggles. Get help when you need it.

Power tools are no joke and need to be taken seriously!