7 surefire tips for a safe and tidy workshop

August 11, 2015

Whether your workshop is a stand-alone room or just a corner of the garage, the same rules apply: keep it tidy, and keep it safe. Here are seven surefire tips to help you on your way:

  1. If you have a metal workbench, have it grounded to reduce the chances of a shock from shorted equipment. Have an electrician run a wire from your bench to an electrical sub-board or to a metallic electrical conduit to ground it.
  2. Here's an easy way to make a tool board: wrap up your tools in plastic wrap and lay them on the board you want to hang them on. Then, fix nails where you want your tools to hang. Spray the board with paint while your wrapped tools are in place and leave everything to dry. Once the paint's dry, unwrap your tools, and then hang them in the marked places. Now, you can easily see where to hang your tools after you use them.
  3. If the handle on a drawer full of tools keeps pulling off, you should replace it with a garage door handle, or something similar. Secure your new drawer handle with bolts going through the drawer front. To really make sure that this handle stays on your drawer, put flat and lock washers onto each bolt before screwing on the nut.
  4. Standing on a concrete floor in front of your workbench for hours on end can strain your legs and give you a chill. Be good to yourself and lay an offcut of carpet down on the floor, or go all the way and install a rubber anti-fatigue mat. The softer surface will be more soothing for your joints and will prevent heat loss between your limbs and the cold concrete floor.
  5. Install a safety switch to monitor the flow of electricity. This kind of switch will turn the power off in less than a second if it detects a problem. You can buy individual power points with safety switches, as well as portable or 'in-line' safety switches for use with extension cords, but the safest strategy of all is to have an electrician install a safety switch on the main electrical panel for your house. That way all of your home's power circuits are protected.
  6. Frayed or cracked electrical cords and plugs are dangerous and should be replaced immediately. Keep cords free of tangles, off the ground and clear of your work surface. Be especially careful about where electrical cords are when you're using saws, grinders and other powered cutting tools.
  7. Always use heavy-duty cords rated to handle more electrical current than your tools will draw.

Follow these seven surefire tips and your workshop will be all the safer, helping you to work with a little less worry.

7 surefire tips for a safe and tidy workshop
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