Power equipment, hand tools, and electrical cords are commonly found in woodworking shops. Because even small electric shocks are dangerous, it is important that you are familiar with the hazards. These include electrocution, fire, or explosions.
Grounding and Shock
Electricity is always trying to get to the ground. If something that conducts electricity (like your body) gives electricity an easy path to the ground, it will take it. So if you touch an electric circuit and the ground at the same time, you will become electricity’s easiest path. Electricity will flow through you, and you could be seriously hurt or killed.
In a serious shock accident, the path that the electric current takes through the body gets very hot. Burns occur all along that path, including the places on the skin where the current enters and leaves the body The tools you work with in the shop (just like appliances at home) have insulated coverings and cords to prevent your body from contacting the electricity inside.
You can never tell when contact with electricity will be fatal, but it will always hurt. Electric shock can cause muscle spasms, weakness, shallow breathing, rapid pulse, severe burns, unconsciousness, or possibly death.
Cord and Plug Hazard Awareness
If you see crack, frays, or holes in plugs, power cords or extension cords –DO NOT USE until replaced or repaired by your teacher. Worn cords can cause a fire, shocks, or short circuits.
Never break off the third prong from a three prong plug, to make it fit in a two prong outlet. It is essential for proper grounding purposes and can result in an unsafe situation.
Never overload an outlet with too many plugs. Plugging in too many cords is a fire hazard.
When removing a plug from an outlet, pull it by the plug, not the cord. Pulling the cord will wear it out quickly and create a shock hazard.
Keep cords away from heat and water. Heat and water can damage the insulation and create a shock hazard.
Don’t run cords under floor mats, where they are a fire hazard.