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Safety warnings

We all know about the myriad safety warnings associated with woodworking tools. But what about warnings for other things that impact using woodworking tools?

I’m a huge believer in woodshop safety rules and follow all of them. I also go a few steps further with things like checking to see if my shoes are tied and holding my free arm behind me when it’s not actively involved in using a tool. Not doing both can lead to accidents, but you’ll rarely find them mentioned in safety warnings.

But there’s another set of warnings you’ll never find in a tool manual, and those are the ones found on everyday cold medications.

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I had a horrendous cold over the past week. I’m not a big user of cold medication, but this one was so bad I had no choice. The medicine warns against driving and using heavy machinery while taking it, but I figured there was still stuff I could do in the shop. I figured wrong.

The problem was that this cold (which actually turned out to be bronchitis) had me clumsy and stupid, the way some colds do. The cold medicine on top of that made me stupider. So, I rightly avoided anything in my shop with a plug on it.

The thing of it is, is that even non-heavy machinery, such as a cordless drill, or even simple marking and measuring becomes more difficult when you dump cold medicine on top of clumsy and stupid. But after several errors (including a couple holes drilled in the wrong place) and several instances of dropping things, I realized that virtually no shop task – even simple ones – should be attempted when sick and medicated.

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