OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
What should you do before using sanders?
Sanders can be dangerous if not used properly.
- Read the owner's manual carefully.
- Make sure you understand instructions before attempting to use any tool or machine.
- Learn the applications and limitations before use.
- Refer to Woodworking Machines - General Safety Tips for general safeguards.
What safety procedures should you follow when using sanders?
- Wear safety glasses or goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles) when operating a sander.
- Wear hearing protection that is suitable for the level and frequency of the noise you are exposed to in the woodworking area.
- Wear protective footwear when required.
- Use sanders with the local exhaust ventilation (LEV) turned on. The LEV should be designed for the sander and well maintained to work effectively.
- Wear respiratory protection (e.g., dust masks) where required, during sanding operations and clean up.
- Keep hands away from the abrasive surface.
- Hold small or thin pieces of stock in a jig or holding device to prevent injuries to the fingers or hands.
- Inspect abrasive belts before using them. Replace belts worn, frayed, or excessively worn in spots.
- Sand on the downward side of a disc sander so that the wood is driven onto the table by the machine's rotation.
- Enclose all drums, disk or belt sanding machines with an exhaust dust hood that covers all portions of the machine but the portion designed for the work feed.
- Adjust work rests on all manually fed sanders to provide minimum clearance between the belt and the rest. The work rest should be secured properly.
- Install abrasive belts that are the same width as the pulley drum.
- Adjust abrasive belt tension to keep the belt running the same speed as pulley-drum when the wood is in contact with the belt.
- Guard feed rollers to allow boards to pass, but keep operators' fingers and arms out.
- Install guards to prevent contacts at:
- in-running nip points,
- power transmission,
- feed roll parts, and
- the unused portion of the abrasion belt on the operator's side of the machine.
What should you avoid when using sanders?
- Do not sand small or thin hand-held work pieces.
- Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry while using revolving power tools. Tie back long hair or wear appropriate hair protection. These measures will prevent hair, clothing, or jewellery (like dangling neck chains) from being caught and pulled by sander belts and pulleys that are in motion.
- Do not operate sanders without the exhaust system operating.
- Do not operate sanders unless adequately guarded.
- Do not operate sanders unless the work rest is properly adjusted.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.