The AAW Lathe Safety Guidelines
1. Safe, effective use of a wood lathe requires study and knowledge of procedures for using this tool.
Read and thoroughly understand the label warnings on the lathe and in the owner’s/operator’s
2. Always wear safety goggles or safety glasses that include side protectors and a full face shield when
needed. Wood dust can be harmful to your respiratory system. Use a dust mask or helmet and proper
ventilation (dust collection system) in dusty work conditions. Wear hearing protection during
extended periods of operation.
3. Tie back long hair, do not wear gloves, loose clothing, jewelry or any dangling objects that may catch
in rotating parts or accessories.
4. Check the owner/operator’s manual for proper speed recommendations. Use slower speeds for larger
diameter or rough pieces and increased speed for smaller diameters and pieces that are balanced. If
the lathe is shaking or vibrating, lower the speed. If the workpiece vibrates, always stop the machine
to check the reason.
5. Make certain that the belt guard or cover is in place. Check that all clamping devices (locks), such as
on the tailstock and tool rest, are tight.
6. Rotate your workpiece by hand to make sure it clears the tool rest and bed before turning the lathe
on. Be sure that the workpiece turns freely and is firmly mounted. It is always safest to turn the lathe
off before adjusting the tool rest.
7. Exercise caution when using stock with cracks, splits, checks, bark, knots, irregular shapes or
8. Hold turning tools securely on the tool rest and hold the tool in a controlled but comfortable manner.
Always use a slower speed when starting until the workpiece is balanced. This helps avoid the
possibility of an unbalanced piece jumping out of the lathe and striking the operator.
9. When running a lathe in reverse, it is possible for a chuck or faceplate to unscrew unless it is
securely tightened on the lathe spindle.
10. Know your capabilities and limits. An experienced woodturner may be capable of techniques and
procedures not recommended for beginning turners.
11. When using a faceplate, be certain the workpiece is solidly mounted. When turning between centers,
be certain the workpiece is secure.
12. Always remove the tool rest before sanding or polishing operations.
13. Don’t overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
14. Keep lathe in good repair. Check for damaged parts, alignment, binding of moving parts and other
conditions that may affect its operation.
15. Keep tools sharp and clean for better and safer performance. Don’t force a dull tool. Don’t use a tool
for a purpose not intended. Keep tools out of reach of children.
16. Consider your work environment. Don’t use lathe in damp or wet locations. Do not use in presence
of flammable liquids or gases. Keep work area well lit.
17. Stay alert. Watch what you are doing; use common sense. Don’t operate tools when you are tired or
under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
18. Guard against electric shock. Inspect electric cords for damage. Avoid the use of extension cords.
19. Remove chuck keys and adjusting wrenches. Form a habit of checking for these before switching on
20. Never leave the lathe running unattended. Turn power off. Don’t leave the lathe until it comes to a