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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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Workers' Rights

Workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.

How to Contact OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.


Disclaimer
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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eTools Home : Woodworking Safety and Health Topic Page | Credits