Finger Nails & Nailguns: 5 Shop Safety basics when working with tools

I got a wake-up call the other day; I almost sent a nail through my finger tip. Luckily it only pierced my nail and barely my nailbed, but it still hurt like no other! As I was trying not freak out in a shop full of 7th-grade students, I did what I preach for them for over a WEEK in our shop safety lessons not to do. I stopped paying! attention

You see, something had broken so I thought I’d fix it quickly since the kids had the nail gun out. If everything went right, it would have taken me 2 min to fix it. No big deal right… UGH!

I didn’t check the size of the nail that was in the nail gun! I didn’t think much of it until one hit my finger, and there is nothing harder than trying to stop yourself from yelling out a four-letter word in front of a bunch of 7th graders! Good news, I am alright most of my 7th graders didn’t even notice (thankfully!)

Below are my top 5 safety tips I review with all of my kids and we adhere to every day in the shop,

Basic Shop Safety

Basic Shop Safety procedures, the reason for these is simple; something probably happened to someone somewhere, at some point in time and it could just as easily happen to you!

Common sense!
  1. .This is the most important thing to remember in the shop, remember common sense is not so common. If anyone else uses your tools or shop, double check things before you use them just in case they screwed something up or forgot to put something back.
  2. Had I doubled checked the nail gun I would still be able to use my finger as a type this and would have saved myself a lot of embarrassment today!
  3. Ok seriously you need to try typing without your left pointer finger, it’s a huge struggle! Hopefully, it doesn’t take long to heal!
Safety Glasses
  1. Always wear them, eventually, you won’t even notice they are there! If you have regular glasses still wear safety glasses. Regular glasses are not tested for durability. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like glass in my eyes along with whatever else flew in there.
  1. Wear closed toed shoes always! Believe me, it hurts when you drop a board on your toes!
  2. This rule is probably the bane of my existence when summer comes around because you see I hate to wear shoes. I love to buy them hate to wear them, I would so much rather be barefoot! After stepping on rusty nails and dropping plenty of things on my toes over the past 27 years, I have finally given in, I keep a pair of closed toed shoes in my shop so I can just slip them on.
  1. Always have it up! And not just ponytail up, but completely out of the way.
  2. Once I had straightened my hair and had it in a normal ponytail was using a jigsaw, but you see it was way too long, my ponytail ended up caught in the saw. It pulled on it, and then ended up cutting off enough hair that I had to get a haircut.
No jewelry or Hooded Sweatshirts
  1. It may seem like an odd combination, but the primary goal is not to have anything hanging down around your neck. If you can’t take the jewelry off, tuck it under your shirt. Asphyxiation by power tool has never sounded to thrilling to me.
  2.  The first year teaching one of my students forgot to tuck in his sweatshirts strings, it got caught in the router, wrecked the router and would have choked him if he didn’t get the router shut off in time. Let’s just say my students cut their strings out of their sweatshirts for the rest of the quarter it scared them so bad.


These are my top 5 things you need to remember when you’re working with tools or in a shop! They will save you from Countless of accidents- Especially Common Sense!

If you are a DIYer check out my post on 5 Essential Power tools for the DIYer on a Budget!


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