Woodworking is a popular way to grow a handyman business. If you have carpentry skills or are willing to learn, woodworking services could help you find new customers or build repeat business with your existing ones.
Like any service you provide, woodworking can create new handyman business risks that you will need to manage. Updating your existing handyman risk management plan could help you safely add woodworking to the list of services you offer. Here are ten woodworking safety tips you might consider:
1. Wear safety equipment
Woodworking can be dangerous in many ways. Loud power tools might affect your hearing. Debris could fly into your eyes. Stains and varnishes may irritate your skin. Wearing appropriate safety equipment every time you work could help you avoid injury and stay healthy. Consider the following:
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Work and latex gloves
- Face masks
- Steel-toed boots
2. Wear appropriate clothing
Baggy and loose clothing can get caught on saw blades and other power tools. Wearing fitted clothing suited to woodworking might help you avoid these types of accidents. It’s also important to remove dangling jewellery or scarves before starting work, as these can also get caught on or in your tools.
3. Avoid distractions
Power tools demand your full attention. Taking your eye off a saw, nail gun, or drill for even a second could result in injury or damage to a customer’s home. Minimize distractions, such as conversation or music while you work. Always finish what you are doing or come to a safe stopping point before looking away.
4. Avoid alcohol and drugs
Alcohol and drugs can impair your reaction time and ability to focus on your work. This can be dangerous when you are woodworking (or doing any handyman project). Avoid alcohol while on the job and carefully read the warnings on prescription and over-the-counter medications. It may be necessary to take time off until you are fully recovered rather than potentially work impaired.
5. Keep your tools contained
If a project requires you to switch tools often, it can be tempting to leave them out so you can quickly grab them as needed. However, this could potentially create a tripping hazard for you, your customers, or anyone else nearby. Keeping your tools in a toolbox or neatly contained to a single area could help reduce falls, cuts, and other safety risks.
6. Disconnect power to tools when not in use
Leaving tools plugged in when you’re not using them could lead to accidents or injuries. You may not be the only person able to access your tools, particularly while working in a customer’s home. Disconnecting power tools when they’re not in use could prevent unsuspecting adults or curious children from turning them on.
7. Use a single extension cord
Using a different extension cord for each tool is convenient, but it could also be a hazard. Switching to a single cord for all tools helps reinforce the habit of disconnecting tools when not in use (see the previous tip). It also minimizes the number of items in your workspace that someone could trip and fall over.
8. Use sharp blades and bits
Dull blades and bits can be dangerous. They can cause your tools to work harder and increases the potential for kickback or bind. Sharp blades and bits will make cleaner, more precise cuts which are better for you and your customers!
9. Check for nails, screws, and other metal
Spinning blades and metal don’t mix. Before cutting, check wood for old nails, screws, or other bits of stray metal. This can help prevent injuries caused by kickback or flying metal, as well as prevent damage to your tools.
10. Have appropriate business insurance
Even with a comprehensive handyman risk management plan, accidents may still happen. Business insurance, including General Liability coverage, could help protect you against expensive injury or property damage claims made by a customer or other third party.
Following these and other tips for managing handyman business risks could help you grow your handyman business. Customers will appreciate your commitment to safety, which could lead to more referrals and more projects!