Work practices and administrative controls
§ Use appropriate equipment for the job. Workers can be seriously injured if they do not use the correct equipment for a job. Use machines only for work within the rated capacity specified by the machine manufacturer. Use the correct tools on a given machine. For example, when using a circular saw, use the correct blade for the required cutting action. Similarly, you must only mount blades, cutter heads, or collars on machine arbors that have been accurately sized and shaped to fit these parts.
§ Train workers on machine use and allow only trained and authorized workers to operate and maintain the equipment. Workers should understand the purpose and function of all controls on the machine, should know how to stop the equipment in an emergency, and should be trained on the safety procedures for special set-ups.
Operator training should include hazards associated with the machine, how the safeguards protect the worker from these hazards, under what circumstances the guard may be removed (usually just for maintenance), and what to do if the guard is damaged or not functioning properly.
Employees should be able to demonstrate their ability to run the machine with all safety precautions and mechanisms in place.
§ Frequently inspect equipment and guards. Ensure that: (1) the operator and machine are equipped with the safety accessories suitable for the hazards of the job, (2) the machine and safety equipment are in proper working condition, and (3) the machine operator is properly trained.
Document the inspections and keep the records. Documentation should identify the machine, inspection date, problems noted, and corrective action taken. Noting problems helps to ensure that corrective action will be taken, that operators on all shifts will be made aware of any potential danger, and that any pattern of repeat problems on a particular machine can be detected and resolved as early as possible.
§ Use equipment only when guards are in place and in working order. A worker should not be allowed to operate a piece of woodworking equipment if the guard or any other safety device, return device, spreader, anti-kickback fingers apparatus, guard on in-running rolls, or gauge or rip fence is not functioning properly. When guards cannot be used (during rabbeting or dadoing, for instance), you must provide combs, featherboards, or suitable jigs for holding the stock.
§ Provide employees with push sticks or other hand tools so that their hands are away from the point of operation when they work on small pieces of stock. A push stick is a strip of wood or block with a notch cut into one end that is used to push short or narrow lengths of material through saws. (See Figure 1.) Using push sticks keeps stock from tipping and prevents the operator’s fingers from coming in contact with blades.
Figure 1: Push stick and push block Figure 1: Push stick and push block
§ Use a brush or stick to clean sawdust and scrap from a machine. Never allow employees to clean a saw with their hands or while the machine is running.
§ Provide regular preventive maintenance. Regularly clean and maintain woodworking equipment and guards. Ensure that blades are in good condition. Knives and cutting heads must be kept sharp, properly adjusted, and secured. Sharpening blades prevents kickback. Remove any cracked or damaged blades from service. Keep circular saw blades round and balanced. Remove dull, badly set, improperly filed or improperly tensioned saws from service, and immediately clean saws to which gum has adhered.
§ Never leave a machine unattended in the “on” position. Make sure that workers know never to leave a machine that has been turned off but is still coasting.
§ Maintain proper housekeeping. Workers have been injured by tripping and then falling onto the blades of saws. Keep floors and aisles in good repair and free from debris, dust, protruding nails, unevenness, or other tripping hazards. Do not use compressed air to blow away chips and debris. Make sure you have a non-slip floor.
§ Never saw freehand. Always hold the stock against a gauge or fence. Freehand sawing increases the likelihood of an operator’s hands coming in contact with the blade.
§ Use appropriate personal protective equipment.
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