Belt Sander Safety Rules
A belt sander provides a way to quickly sand wood surfaces. This tool uses belt-shaped sandpaper that slides onto a rotating drum. The sandpaper moves across the drums at a high rate of speed. It is essential that you follow all safety precautions when using this tool. Improper usage can cause serious physical harm.
When using a belt sander or any sander, always wear safety glasses. Sanders create large amounts of wood dust and small splinters. The direction of the rotating belt will throw the dust and splinters towards you. Without safety glasses these particles can end up in your eyes.
Dust Mask or Face Shield
Consider protection for your lungs. Breathing dust from sanding can cause long-term upper respiratory problems. This is especially true for people that use sanders consistently. Even if you only use a sander occasionally, it is best to not breath the dust.
Clothing and Jewelry
Do not wear loose clothes while using a belt sander. Any type of clothing that can potentially come in contact with a belt sander must be secured. If you are wearing loose, long-sleeve shirts, roll up the sleeves. Remove necklaces. Clothes and jewelry can easily be caught in the sander.
Hands and Ears
Never wear gloves when using a belt sander. Many work gloves do not always fit tightly. This creates a situation where the gloves can actually become caught in the sander. You should always wear protection for your ears when using any type of power tool. Power tools emit noise at very high decibels. Over time, the use of power tools will cause hearing loss.
Always wear safety boots or shoes. Protection of your feet is often forgotten. No matter how safe you work, accidents do happen. Many tools are heavy and can cause broken bones in your feet if dropped
Before sanding older pieces of wood that have been previously painted, check to make sure that the paint is not lead based. Lead-based paint was banned in 1978. Anything built prior to that time is most likely painted with this paint. Lead-based paint has been shown to cause severe health and neurological problems in children, but it can also affect adults. Being exposed to lead-based paint can lead to death. It is in your best interest to replace the piece of wood with another.
Check Your Material
Before sanding your material, check for protruding metal objects. Small staples, nail heads or screws may be present. If you hit a metal object with your sander, it can rip the paper, create sparks and possibly ignite wood shavings or dust or jerk the sander out of your hands. You can never be to safe when using power tools of any type.
Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).