First aid in your woodworking shop


While no one likes to think about them, shop accidents happen. And you should know what to do if they occur. Here's some common practices for typical mishaps. First aid in your woodworking shop

Every shop, no matter its size, needs a first-aid kit to handle medical emergencies - from a splinter to a cut. You'll find two general types of pre-assembled kits available in a variety of sizes at most drugstores. Unit-type kits contain dressings, ointments, and other needs packaged in one-treatment units of from 16 to 32 in quantity. Cabinet-type kits, on the other hand, have the same items, but they are packaged in quantities for more than one treatment, such as a box of pressure dressings rather than one.

The following first-aid procedures were developed and are advocated by the American Red Cross. You'll want to remember them if a mishap occurs.

Scrapes, Cuts, and Punctures


STEP 1: Stop the bleeding by holding a sterile gauze dressing (or clean cloth) over the wound. If necessary, add more layers but don't remove the first one. Elevate the wounded part of the body above the heart; gravity should help slow down the bleeding.

(Note: Shock impairs your ability to think clearly. If the bleeding or the wound is more severe than you have coped with in the past, don't hesitate to call for help.)

STEP 2. After bleeding is controlled, wash your hands. Then wash in and around the wound. Rinse thoroughly. Dry the wound by blotting gently with a sterile gauze pad or clean cloth. Cover with a sterile dressing.

Watch carefully for signs of infection over the next few days (see sidebar). Consult your doctor about the need for a tetanus shot.



STEP 1. Remove splinters in surface tissue with tweezers sterilized in boiling water or over an open flame.

STEP 2. Splinters just below the skin are worked out with the tip of a sterilized needle, then removed with a tweezers. Keep an eye on the area for infection. Often, a small broken-off piece will cause the area to fester. If it is too deep to work out, consult a doctor.



STEP 1. Small blisters are best left unbroken. If the pressure does not fade, however, wash the area with soap and water, then use a sterilized needle to make a small hole at the base of the blister and drain.

STEP 2. Apply a sterile dressing to protect the area from further irritation. Watch for infection.

Eye Injury - Penetrating Object

STEP 1. If a splinter or other object penetrates the eye area, do not attempt to remove the object or to wash the eye. Call for help.

STEP 2. Cover both eyes loosely with a clean dressing. (Both eyes must be covered so the injured eye does not move.)

STEP 3. Stay calm and call a doctor or hospital for instructions.

Poisons - Swallowing


If you believe someone has swallowed a poison such as paint remover, stain, or varnish call the local poison control center or your doctor immediately. Check container label for ingredients.

Poisons - Splashing in Eyes or on Skin


STEP 1. For the eyes, pour luke-warm water gently into the affected eye, directing it away from the other eye. Continue flushing from two to three inches above the eye for five minutes.

For the skin, remove all clothing around the area and flush with generous amounts of water for several minutes.

STEP 2. Follow further instructions on container. Call poison control or your doctor.