Safety’s sake

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Safety is paramount when woodworking. But some of the safety warnings in tool manuals leave me scratching my head.

Tool manuals have lots of safety warnings. I’ve had manuals of only a few pages where 75 percent consists of warnings about one thing or another. Don’t get me wrong, safety should always be foremost in your mind but some of the warnings don’t make a lot of sense. For example:

Don’t use tool when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That seems a given. I mean, who woodworks drunk? But then, I think of how many online videos I’ve seen of people hurting themselves after having said, “Hey, hold my beer and watch this.” Sadly, I guess you can’t read that warning through alcohol-induced double vision.

Don’t use tool around flammable gases or liquids. Again, this makes sense on the surface. But who works around flammable gases? “Hey, guys, just ignore that smell. We got us a gas leak somewhere, but just keep on working.”

Don’t plug in tool while unpacking. Seriously, who would ever do this, and why? Someone high from all the gas fumes in the workshop, I suppose.

Never stand on tool. This is my favorite, and you’ll see it listed for every tool, from big saws to small drills. OK, I suppose I could understand maybe standing on a table saw to change a light bulb or the batteries in your flammable gases detector or something. But why would you stand on a miter saw, scroll saw or drill press?

When you analyze all of these “silly” warnings, though, I suppose the manufacturers don’t have a bunch of writers sitting around thinking these things up at random. Rather, I’m guessing these are in the manuals because somebody, somewhere has done all these things. And posted the video online.

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