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Safety Tip: Chain of Decisions

As an airplane pilot I was taught Aeronautical Decision Making or ADM. The concept is that there is a chain of decisions that ultimately result in an accident. Breaking the chain at an early point can ultimately prevent it from occurring in the first place. The key is to recognize the decisions as they are being made.

For example: it is late in the day, dinner is waiting, the project deadline is getting close. You leave the saw guard off after changing from a dado blade to a rip blade to save a few seconds, the push stick is not readily available, but the cut is 4 inches wide. The saw is already running, so you decide to make the cut (you've done this cut a hundred times before anyway); so you press on...

This is an accident just waiting to happen in a millisecond of inattention, but could be prevented with a different choice at any of the previous decision points: knocking off for the day, installing the blade guard, turning the saw off to get the push stick, etc.

Sometimes as experience builds many of these decisions happen automatically, without a second thought. But thinking about your decisions, or turning off a tool when something doesn't feel right can make all the difference between getting a job done on time or having to go through months of rehab, or worse. Work safe.

Ric Blamer

Do you have a safety tip you always keep in mind when you are in the shop?
Share it with us , and you could get a $25 Highland Woodworking gift card
if we feature your tip in a future issue.

Visit Highland Woodworking's Online Safety Equipment Department

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