Keep Your Mind On What You’re Doing


I had two incidents this week related to shop safety that were both stupid and worthy of mentioning. They were silly mistakes, and I know better, but I’m not ashamed to admit them.

First, I had a couple of layers of skin torn off of a small area on my left pinky. How? I was tightening a stepped drill bit (for drilling pocket holes) in a keyless chuck and was gripping the chuck in one hand while pulling the drill trigger in another. My mistake? My last couple of fingers were resting on the bit. At first I thought nothing of it – I usually catch a few nicks and cuts during any project – but after my hand felt sticky I realized I was bleeding. I bled through the first adhesive bandage, and wound up putting a second one on top of it.

Second, and this was today, I was driving 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws into 2x stock. I was in an awkward position (drilling left-handed while being right-handed) and the drill and bit slipped out of the screw head. Stupidly, I had my right arm right in the path of the drill bit and took quite a bit of force on the forearm. Not much blood, but a nice little knot throbs on my forearm now.

Overall, these mistakes can be attributed to one simple mistake. Haste. In the first scenario, I was pushing myself unnecessarily to prepare tools for a video shoot. In the second, I didn’t take the time to place myself in a better position for driving the screw and forgot a basic rule – never put a body part in the path, even if obstructed, of a power tool.

Keep your mind on what you’re doing in the shop, folks, right then and there, and not on what’s happening next.

Published in: on April 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

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