When planning and building your workshop, take into account these safety recommendations that provide more than an ounce of prevention.
1. Smoke Detector: A must-have not only for your workshop but every room in your house. When testing make sure you can hear it from inside the house or wherever you might be when your workshop is closed. Also check batteries regularly.
2. First Aid Kit: A standard red-cross certified first-aid kit that should contain gauze, tape, scissors, bandages, disinfectant, burn ointment, tweezers, and eye-wash solution.
3. Exhaust Fan: To draw off toxic fumes or potentially explosive dust. It will also keep your shop cooler during the summer months without the use of an AC unit.
4. Subpanel: It helps to have access to a properly labeled subpanel where you can shut-down power instantly to all tools.
5. GFCI Outlets and Striped Raceway: Your workshop should have plenty of outlets installed (preferably GFCI) so as not to overload a powerstrip as well as keep cords from being stretched to far causing potential accidents from tripping. For power tools that will be used away from walls and outlets you should install a striped raceway that is an insulated cord that runs along the floor and leads to an outlet in the center of the room. These will prevent tripping from cords and provide convenient power for free-standing power tools such as circular saws or table saws. Make sure the raceways are striped with colored tape for visibility.
6. Rubber Mat & non-skid tape: For high-traffic areas where you’ll be standing, a rubber mat will alleviate sore backs and prevent slipping. They also prevent small tools or screws from bouncing away as easily as they would on a concrete floor. Non-skid tape is essential for steps or stairs that lead into the workshop with highlight tape for the tread nosings.
7. Closed Metal Trash Can: To be used for oily rags and other flammable trash.
8. Metal Cabinet: To store flammable paints and liquids.
9. Lockable Cabinet: To store small power tools and tools with sharp edges or blades.
10. Wire Mesh Fixture Covers: Consider covering all overhead lighting with wire mesh to prevent accidental breakage when moving lumber or other awkward long materials.
11. Fire Extinguishers: Mounted in different locations throughout the shop for easy access. Not all fire-extinguishers are created equal. Choose the proper one for the type of work you do in your shop, but better yet have a few on hand for each type of fire.
12. Personal Safety: Goggles, Respirator, and Face Shield should be required in all shops and be within easy reach of your workbench.
Please share your workshop safety tips in the comments below.