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Woodworking operations can be very dangerous, particularly when workers use machines improperly or without proper safeguards. Machine guarding violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.212(a)(1) and 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) have recently topped the list of citations issued during OSHA inspections. Improperly or inadequately guarded woodworking machines can lead to the following injuries: laceration, amputation, severed fingers, and blindness. Wood dust and the chemicals used for finishing products are health hazards to wood workers and may cause skin and respiratory diseases.

To help provide a safe and healthful workplace, this eTool* describes the principal hazards and possible solutions for woodworking. This eTool is not a substitute for OSHA standards related to woodworking,

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but can help clarify the regulatory language and technical information covered in those standards. "Shall" and "must" are used in this eTool to indicate when a control device or other safeguard is required by OSHA; "should" is used to indicate recommended safe work practices. For more comprehensive information, consult the General Industry Standards, 29 CFR, Part 1910. Specific OSHA standards for woodworking are also listed in the Additional References section of this eTool.

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How do I find out about employer responsibilities and worker rights?

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see or worker rights.

OSHA has a great deal of information to assist employers in complying with their responsibilities under the OSHA law.

OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential on-site consultation service to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.

Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Employees can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to your local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by an employee are more likely to result in an inspection.

If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.

eTools are "stand-alone," interactive, web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics. They are highly illustrated and utilize graphical menus. As indicated in the disclaimer, eTools do not create new OSHA requirements.
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