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Safety Tips For TARDIS Builders

Started by galacticprobe, Dec 18, 2017, 06:07 am

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Dec 18, 2017, 06:07 am Last Edit: Sep 23, 2018, 04:18 am by galacticprobe
Okay... as with the "Murphy's Laws", since the input on this "Safety Tips" list has been quiet for a long while, we've probably gotten most of the safety issues we can think of out of our heads. I've talked with Russell (russellsuthern) since he started the original thread on this, and he's given me the "OK" to post this Safety Tips List. So here is the list we've put together. (NOTE: As with the "Murphy's Laws", let's try to keep this one as "The List" only. If anyone has more to add, or to discuss, please do it in Russell's Topic that spawned this, If any new "Safety Tips" are thought of, just post them there, and I'll transcribe then into this list by editing this post. That way we can keep things neat.)

And once again, with that...

Safety Tips for builders
Tips on building safely & minimizing the risk of injury.


1) Always lift heavy objects correctly using the legs not the back.
2) If the item is very heavy, get someone to help you lift it/put it into place/hold it etc. A "heavy lift" is defined as anything over 50 lbs (US measure); if it weighs that much or more, it's considered a TWO-MAN LIFT! (And if you've ever tried lifting something weighing 50 lbs, you'll know just how heavy that can be!)
3) When stacking long items like planks of wood, make sure they are secure, they can slide over & land on something fragile (Ie: your head!)
4) Always wear thick gloves when cutting, sawing or using any sharp object.
5) When sanding or spraying, always wear goggles AND a filter mask! Sawdust can be hazardous if the wood you're cutting is treated, or synthetic (i.e. MDF, and other wood-like material that might be made from non-wood or glued wood parts).
6) When working with composite materials (fiberglass, GRP, etc.):
- NEVER use abrasive type tools if you can avoid it.
- ALWAYS use a mask, the very best you can get. (Not those silly dust mask things.)
- Cut GRP with tools that have teeth, as you get chunks instead of dust. If sanding, use the coarsest paper you can get away with, before final finishing.
- The dust from GRP produces an illness akin to asbestosis; carbon, kevlar, and the like are magnitudes worse. (Carbon dust is known to cause lung and throat cancers, but not widely told.)
- Most importantly, take this seriously and protect yourselves.
7) Always use adequate ventilation when painting, gluing or fibreglassing. Also try to use a filter mask, and not just a dust mask, but one designed for fumes. (Trust me; they are different!)
8 ) Make sure you are not allergic to any materials/products being used.
9) Always make sure your material is very firmly secured when cutting, drilling etc.
10) Always read the instructions on any product you buy/use.
11) Make sure you follow those instructions!
12) When using power tools, always use EYE and EAR protection.
13) Keep blades sharp - more accidents happen with dull blades and they make ragged cuts that are harder to heal.
14) Make sure sharp items are covered when stored.
15) Don't wear anything that dangles! No loose shoelaces, ties, belt ends... THIS INCLUDES HAIR! It's scary what can get caught up in machinery & drag you in. (So put those Tom Baker scarves away while you are building! Plenty of time to put them back on when you are playing with your completed build!)
16) If at all possible, don't use power tools or indeed anything sharp if you're home alone; make sure there's someone else available to drive you to hospital or call an ambulance if necessary. (It doesn't take a huge amount of blood loss to cause shock or loss of consciousness; sometimes the sight alone can be enough, even with a small wound.)
17) Keep all tools (especially power tools) clean & well maintained.
18) If the cord is frayed, don't use it; do not simply wrap it with electrical tape. Get it checked by a qualified electrician, NOT a back-yarder, unless they can show you a current electrician's license.
19) Do not use power tools in wet areas or if the power tool is wet; electricity kills!
20) Extension cords: DO NOT use extension cords that have 2 male plugs on it. Now this may seem stupid, but I have seen it & someone nearly died; they were lucky that they just got badly burnt, but even that was really bad: electric lawnmower had a female plug on it so extension cord had 2 male ends. The guy tripped over the cord & landed with his palm on the male plug. The electricity arc went through his hand & out between 2nd & 3rd fingers. Took ages to heal. So PLEASE be careful!
21) When using band or bench saws, or any other power tool (fixed or portable) keep fingers away from the blades, AND DO NOT BYPASS THE BLADE SAFETY GUARD!
22) Familiarity can lead to complacency, and complacency can lead to accidents. Be familiar with how your tools operate, but not so much that you get complacent with operating them!
23) SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: be aware of where your tool's POWER CORD and YOUR FINGERS are in relation to your tool's blade/bit. The last thing you want to do is cut or drill through your cord (or hand) and get a powerful shock, start a fire, end up with a trip to the ER, or possibly lose part or all of your hand!
24) Make sure ladders are secure before climbing. (I put sandbags on the bottom rung.)
25) Try to make sure you have adequate time to finish a given task. Don't rush. Take it slow & careful.
26) Accidents are more likely to happen when you're tired - take breaks every so often and in hot weather don't forget to hydrate regularly by drinking water, not soda or alcohol.
27) Make sure you know what you are doing if using electrics. If in doubt, enlist help from an expert.
28) When painting & using thinners or flammable liquids, DO NOT smoke, naked flames, cigarettes can & may ignite the fumes.
29) It's also important to have the correct clothes - If you try to work wearing your normal clothes you will eventually get paint on them or tear them.
-Overalls or dungarees are best, but sensible jeans & a T shirt will do.
-Proper shoes or boots are a good idea. Several times I've been building with thin deck shoes on & dropped a big lump of wood on my poor toes... (yes, I am a slow learner!!)
30) Work boots with steel toes! Get two pairs and alternate - this allows the resting pair to air out completely, keeping your feet happy and extending the life of the boots.
31) Apply sunscreen and use shelter to protect yourself from too much sun.
32) When working with masonry (if you're planning to have such a patio under or around your TARDIS), remember: bricks are hard, fingers are soft. Be very careful!
33) Keep your work area clean. Cast-offs and saw dust can be trip hazards and make floors slippery, either of which can cause you to fall and break something (a bone, a tool, etc.), or hit your head and land you in hospital with concussion or worse.
34) Treat rare-earth magnets with great care if using them in your builds. Even those little ones are strong enough that if you get a finger caught between two magnets on their way to meet each other, you could end up in hospital awaiting sutures! Larger ones have been known to actually crush hands to the point of amputation. They don't have to be very close to grab hold of each other's field and slam themselves together. Always be aware of where all of your magnets are. If they're all stuck together, slide them apart; you'll never be able to pull them apart; you'll just get pinched really hard. (Search YouTube for rare earth magnets and watch some of the safety vids. Thankfully they use dummy hands and fingers rather than showing actual filmed accidents, but they do get the point across on just how dangerous these can be if you're not careful.)

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"