Safety plays an important role when working with power tools. It's easy to get tired or distracted during a project, and hazards like faulty electrical connections can be hidden.

You can reduce your risk of injury by following these safety guidelines:

Before using your tools:

  • Always read the owner's manual carefully.
  • Inspect the tool before each use, and replace or repair damaged parts.
  • Use the correct tools for the job - don't use a tool or attachment for something it wasn't designed to do.
  • Always wear the appropriate safety gear - shatter-proof glasses or goggles and ear plugs are a must, and dust masks are usually a good idea.
  • Don't wear gloves - they can interfere with your ability to control the tool.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and remove rings and other jewelry.

Work areas:

  • Keep your work area clean - sparks can ignite scraps, sawdust and solvents.
  • Remember that water conducts electricity - don't stand on a damp floor, and keep your hands and tools dry.
  • Make sure the electrical wiring is safe. All outlets should have three-hole sockets or a ground fault circuit interrupter.
  • If you need an extension cord, make sure it's rated for the wattage of the tool you're using, and use only outdoor-rated cords outside.
  • When you're working on a ladder or scaffolding, rest the tool on a flat surface or in a bin secured to the ladder. A falling tool can seriously injure a helper or family member.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy, and if possible, a telephone with a list of emergency numbers.
  • Install an all-purpose fire extinguisher and smoke alarms in the areas where tools are used.

Repairing and cleaning power tools:

  • Always turn off and unplug a tool before adjusting, cleaning, attaching an accessory or changing a bit or blade.
  • Unplug tools immediately after you're finished and put them away.