Woodworking can be a dangerous hobby. By following a few common sense rules, you can decrease the risk of serious injury. Develop the habit of using the following pieces of safety equipment from the start, and you'll never want to work without them.
Safety Glasses are the most important piece of safety equipment. There are many styles of safety glasses, but all share the same features, namely impact resistant lenses and side screens to protect against dust and debris created by power tools.
When working with loud power tools and machinery such as routers, surface planers and joiners, it is wise to wear hearing protection. There are two common types: expandable ear plugs and ear muffs. Ear Muffs tend to provide slightly better protection, but can be very wieldy and cumbersome. Consistent use of hearing protection will help protect you from long-term hearing loss.
Respirators and Face Masks:
Sanders, routers and other power tools can generate a lot of dust. When using these tools, it is a good idea to wear a dust mask, to keep these fine particles from entering your lungs. When spraying varnish or paint, a respirator is a better choice, to protect you from any harmful effects of using these chemicals.
When using a lathe, you'll likely generate a lot of flying chips. In addition to using your safety glasses, a clear full-face shield is a good idea. The shield is comfortable, can be flipped up when not needed, and will keep most of the flying chips away from your face.
When working with power tools, you should always wear proper clothing. As such, you should never wear loose fitting clothing. Comfortable, long-sleeved shirts and long pants combined with good steel-toed work shoes will each provide a layer of protection. However, loose articles of clothing can easily become entangled in a power tool, which can be very dangerous. A shop apron is also adviseable at times, particularly when using a lathe.