Woodshops obviously come with inherent safety hazards like sharp cutting edges and heavy lumber, but perhaps one of the most dangerous hazards is highly combustible wood dust. Likewise, fire safety is especially important when working in woodshops.
Here are some common woodshop fire hazards and ways to prevent them.
Accumulated wood dust significantly increases the chance for fires and explosions, as it is highly combustible in the presence of an ignition source. Wood dust built up in an enclosure can explode under pressure, or when ignited by naked flames, impact sparks and faulty electrical equipment.
You can reduce the risk of wood dust fires by cleaning equipment regularly to prevent sawdust buildup, and placing electric panels and transformers as far away from dust-producing equipment as possible. Make sure your shop is properly ventilated, and control wood dust buildup by cleaning floors, walls, shelves and ceilings regularly as well.
Other Ignition sources
Woodshops contain large quantities of potential fuel for fires. Beyond wood and sawdust, other flammable materials like paints, oil finishes, adhesives, solvents and liquid propane can all be potential fire hazards.
Prevent risk of fire by properly storing flammable materials. Always perform tasks that are prone to fire hazards, like spray-painting and welding, in open, well-ventilated areas. Protect electrical systems by using appropriate breakers and grounding all equipment. Try to keep combustible and flammable materials like lumber and chemical solvents away from each other, and away from ignition sources.
Fire Protection Measures
Ensure the safety of employees and buildings by using fire-resistant construction and materials, like fire doors. Mark emergency exits to lead people away from the areas with greatest fire hazard potential. And of course, be sure to install an automatic sprinkler system and an alarm system to warn employees if a fire breaks out.