I would like to say, I think when Marc Spagnuolo of the Wood Whisperer declared May 5th through May 9th safety week it was a great idea. I know there will be a lot of people going over use of safety equipment, like respirators, hearing protection, and how important it is the use the guards on your saw and they all are very important. But one of the most important things that I think we overlooked as woodworkers is our backs.
I am saying this from my own experience, because in 1992. I was working for small shop on Saturdays, while I was running my own cabinet and trim business through week. On this particular Saturday my employer asked me to help him move his table saw. Now he had a large cabinet saw with a 7 hp three-phase motor that was capable of cutting 60 inches right of the blade. So this was a big, big saw and to make things worse it was a small shop, with lots of tools. So we had muscle this saw to where it was going. While we were moving it somewhere in the process I felt a little pain in my lower back. Than a little later I was laminating some table tops after I glued down the tops I would stack them about seven high and then place a couple of five gallon buckets of water on top of them as a clamp until the glue dried. After about my third set I reached down to pick up a bucket and about half way up. I felt a snap in my back, and I fell to the ground. That was in 1992, three surgeries, many hours of PT and almost one year are not being able to walk, all because of a few careless moments of not watching how I was picking something up.
So when you’re in your shop muscling around them heavy sheets of plywood, you would do well, to be very careful of your back, where a back brace, stretch, and loosing up them muscles a little. If you need to move heavy items go inside get some help, call your neighbor, and use your tables or some other type of holding jigs. I am here to tell you it really isn’t worth it to hurt your back over trying to saw a sheet of particle board or man handle that piece of furniture up on your work bench.
I hope some of this is a little bit of a reminder to watch your back. I know I still have to remind myself to watch my body position. Even after all I’ve been through. Well, that’s my little spiel on safety. So keep the saw dust out of your eyes and live long and prosper