Basic Health & Safety Guidance

Bodmin & District Woodturners
Basic Health & Safety Guidance


Revised September 2022

Section Page
1.0 General Health & Safety 3
2.0 Basic Lathe Safety 4
3.0 Bandsaw Safety 5
4.0 Storage of Materials 5
5.0 Dust Hazard 6


1.0 General Health & Safety

The Club is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment as part of its wider responsibilities to its members and the general public.
The Committee has appointed a Health & Safety
Officers (see section 1.0).

1.1 General Safety

It is strongly advised that you have a phone in your workshop – especially if you work alone or isolated from the rest of the family. It should be mounted low enough that you could reach it from the floor. Accidents do happen and you might have to get to that phone while on the floor. You can’t call 999 for yourself if you suddenly find the phone to be 2 feet higher than you can reach

1.2 Manual Handling

It is all members’ responsibility to ensure that those who move and manhandle lathes and heavy equipment are strong enough to do so. Do not let anyone strain themselves when handling heavy equipment.

1.3 Trip Hazards

Ensure that shop floors are clear of trip hazards. Machine cables should be routed safely and out of the way wherever possible. Wood blanks etc stored out of walkways.


2.0 Basic Lathe safety

S for Speed – is it compatible with the size of wood to be turned?

A for Aside – stand out of the ‘firing line’.

F for Fastened – are all locking handles secured?

E for Eye Protection

R for Revolve the wood ‘freehand’ to ensure it spins freely.


3.0 Bandsaw Safety

3.1 Operating

-Thumbs – keep to side never behind the blade
-Always use a Push stick/wedge
-Stance/balance is essential
-Support work never saw overhangs
-Never adjust Guides when saw running, open doors or remove guards when saw is running

3.2 Maintenance

Dust – keep the internals clean.
Bed cleaning and lubrication with Silicon.
Sharpening blades – dull/blunt blades are dangerous.
Blade stowage/folding for equal tension.

4.0 Storage of Materials

It is essential to safely store material in the workshop environment. Here are a few items that initially come to mind.

4.1 Inflammable material

Inflammable materials should be in a closed storage and suitable marked. Care must be taken to ensure that chemicals cannot mix by leakage as the resultant mix could cause major problems.

4.2 Used cloths and rags

These can be dangerous items if left in the workshop after work has finished. Either dispose of the items immediately or store them in a suitable container, preferably metal, for reuse.


5.0 Dust Hazard

Wood dust
Wood dust causes asthma: Wood workers are 4 times more likely to get asthma compared with the UK working population.
Hardwood dust can cause cancer – particularly of the nose.
Extract from H S & E web site
Fine wood dust is a serious hazard, especially if you have any respiratory problems. Even if you feel that dust does not bother you it can have a cumulative effect eventually resulting in permanent damage to your health.
The problem for Woodturners is that conventional dust extractors do not work too well for taking dust away from the lathe. It is easy to construct a casing around a Bandsaw, for example, and connect the hose of a dust extractor so all the dust is whisked away. Unfortunately, you cannot put an enclosure around the lathe because that would get in the way of you and your turning tools. You can try putting the air intake of the extractor as close behind the revolving wood as possible and if you have a good airflow this will remove some of the dust. However, a lot of dust will inevitably escape
Buy a respirator like the Trend Airshield. They are quiet, take up little space and give you better lung protection than any dust extractor machine. The polycarbonate face shield will also give vital impact protection.
Buy a small dust extractor. Because you have the respirator to give primary protection you do not need a huge powerful machine. It will help to keep your workshop clean, and you can use it with its flexible hose to vacuum up the shavings and remove dust, which has settled on surfaces. Because you have a woodturning lathe you can quickly turn up a wooden adaptor to accept the hose from your domestic vacuum cleaner to give you a handy extension hose. If you have other woodworking machines such as a table saw, you can hook up the extractor to them when you need to use them.
To eliminate the problem with the fine dust hanging around in the air you could consider an air cleaner. These consist of a fairly quiet motor and fan with a fine filter, which continuously removes fine suspended dust. They can be left on with a timer after you have finished work and they will eventually leave you with a workshop full of nice clean air. They will not protect you while you are working because they take a while to filter out the dust, but they will considerably reduce the amount of fine stuff settling on surfaces.


Other precautions you can take to help.

Minimize the sanding. (Power sanding is particularly good at filling the air with dust). Use sharp tools and develop your skill to the point where very little sanding has to be done. Try using the wet sanding method, which does not produce dust.
Try roughing out your bowls from green unseasoned wood. You can save money on material and turning wet wood does not produce dust.
Wear a hat to keep dust out of your hair.
When you leave the workshop leave your overall and your hat behind to save taking the dust into the house.