Shop Safety Gear – PPE

In Gear by Dan1 Comment

Here are some thoughts and recommendations for shop safety gear and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
shop safety gear

Safety Glasses
These should be worn whenever you are using power tools, and hammering nails, to protect you from flying debris.

When looking (pardon the pun) at safety glasses, you want a pair that meets ANSI Z87.1. This means they meet standards for impact protection. I’ve had good luck with Encon Wraparound Safety Glasses. I like the look of this pair, with blue frames. If possible, try on a few pair to find a set whose fit you like. (Click the Photo)

Face Shields / Goggles

Consider a face mask, or goggles, when painting, liquids can fly past a set of safety glasses. No one wants to deal with “stuff” in their eyes. (Click the Photo)

Many power tools create enough noise to permanently damage your hearing. The problem is, you won’t know it right away. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is a very serious problem for rock stars, and wood workers.

I use corded ear plugs, that I can clean and use many times. They are fairly comfortable, and the cord keeps me from losing them. They meet the basic requirements (they knock noise down by 24dB), and are very inexpensive. Read the instructions for proper insertion here. (Click the Photo)

If you are willing to spend a little more money, you can use ear muffs. This pair provides even more protection at 34dB. Pay attention to the noise reduction provided when shopping, you want a higher number whenever possible. (Click the Photo)

As a professional who deals with industrial safety on a regular basis, I’ve seen accidents and had to deal with the consequences of folks failing to take their own safety seriously. When I am working with power tools I remove my watch and my wedding ring. Yes, I know, but if you’ve ever seen an incident where someone’s ring catches on a tool, or ladder, you’d remove yours too.

When working with saw blades, chisels or plane knives, I recommend wearing puncture resistent golves, like Frog Grip Gloves, or at least a good pair of leather ones. (Click the Photo)

Gloves should not be worn around rotating power tools, like table saws, skill saws or lathes. If they become caught up in the tool, or the part, they can cause severe harm (loss of fingers, …).

Dust Mask
Today, many of the woods we use are becoming linked to allergies and breathing issues. It’s now known that many of them can build up in our systems, so that we “suddenly” become allergic to them. Rather than deal with that risk or cleaning sawdust out of your nose, start wearing a dust mask when sawing, sanding or sweeping up the shop. I promise, you won’t regret it.

I use both the basic mask and a respirator, depending on how dusty it’s going to get.

Parting thoughts on equipment

Whenever possible, use the guards and shields that come with your tools. Read the instructions and adjust them so they provide the safety you expect. When you see videos, or TV shows, about woodworking, you often see the guards removed for “clarity”. Most of the accidents that happen, are because of rushing, laziness or over confidence.

blade gaurd

Electrical cords
Keep your cords in good shape. Repair or replace tools and extension cords that are damaged or frayed. If the grounding lug on the plug is missing, again replace or repair the tool, or risk getting shocked.


I also recommend that you purchase an ABC fire extinguisher to have in your shop. That frayed cord, or a random spark could lead to the total loss of your shop. Take the extra step to protect your self.

Your safety is your responsibility. Machine vendors do their best to give us machines that are safe and efficient. How you use them, is up to you.

So, let me know, did I miss anything? What do you do for safety in the shop?



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