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Safety Tip: Incandescent Task Lighting

Reading the March 2015 safety tip on blade spin down (which can also apply to cutter spin down!) reminded me of a situation that affects almost every woodworker at one time or another. I actually experienced it early on in my career as an engineer.

We were always careful to set the speed on equipment drive sheaves to a speed which was not 60 RPM or any multiple thereof, because we used (as most woodworking shops do) fluorescent lighting with 120 v 60 Hz power. The issue is of course the 60 Hz frequency, which gives the lights a strobe effect and can give the appearance that a blade or cutter has stopped when it passes through these ranges of RPM. The "freezing" of the cutter or blade only lasts for a second or so during spin down, but add in ear protection and fatigue, and disaster can happen.

It's best to use incandescent task lighting over cutters, as this eliminates this phenomenon.


Chris Harpe

Anderson, SC

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