February 7, 2012
Shop first-aid kit
Photo by Jim Ruen
One of the most important shop tools: a first-aid kit. This one is going into my workshop pronto!

Wiring outlets for my shop reminded me for the umpteenth time how quickly an accident can happen. Usually it’s the result of mixing speed with sharp tools or heavy objects. I’m not talking about the speed of power tools, though they certainly add their own element of risk to the mix. No, I’m talking about trying to finish a job or get too much done in the time allotted.

Mistake #1
I was slicing cable to expose the wires for connecting to the outlets, and I didn’t take that extra minute or two needed to slip on a leather glove. When the knife slipped, it sliced across a finger pad on my left hand. The good thing was the blood flow irrigated the wound well. There wasn’t much chance dirt was going to be a problem with that cut.

Mistake #2
I had no first-aid kit in the shop. Considering the number of dangerous tools and the potential for accidents, a first-aid kit should be the first item included on the short list of shop supplies.

I put pressure on the wound and headed for the house. Once inside, I washed off the surface and attempted to put antiseptic salve on the site. Persistent blood flow made it clear that wasn’t going to work.

I called out for my wife to give me a hand … literally. With me restraining blood flow, she was able to prepare a piece of gauze and adhesive tape to hold it in place. Without her help, I would have managed, but it would have been tricky.

Things happen even if we are taking the greatest care. Having a first aid kit handy and someone you can call on can keep a small problem from becoming a big one.

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