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What does a carpenter do?

A carpenter builds or repairs various structures, working primarily with wood. Some of a carpenter's main duties are to:

  • Measure, cut, shape, assemble and join materials.
  • Read, prepare and interpret blueprints and drawings.
  • Prepare cost estimates and documentation for clients.
  • Conform to building codes and other regulations.
  • Use, clean and maintain various equipment and tools.
  • Supervise apprentices or other workers.

What are some health and safety issues for carpenters?

Carpenters face their own unique set of occupational hazards. These include the following:


What are some preventive measures for carpenters?

  • Inspect work area, tools and equipment before work starts for possible hazards.
  • Keep tools and equipment in good working order.
  • Know when to replace accessories on woodworking machines.  
  • Clean up wood dust regularly and maintain good housekeeping practices.
  • Keep work areas clear of clutter and equipment.
  • Disconnect the power to any machine when you have to fix an issue, or change parts. Use lock-out/tag out procedures and/or maintain control of the power while working on the machine to prevent accidental start-up.
  • Never operate machinery without all guards in place.
  • Wear appropriate eye protection, hearing protection, footwear, and other protective equipment for the task.
  • Learn safe lifting techniques.
  • Avoid awkward postures or repetitive tasks, or take frequent breaks.
  • Be sure to stand in the correct position - always allow for kick back.
  • Never use your hands to run lumber through the blade or to clean off sawdust. Use a push stick and a brush.
  • Do not wear loose clothing around rotating parts or machinery.
  • Follow a recommended shift work pattern, and know the associated hazards.
  • Install and maintain good ventilation.

What are some good general safe work practices?


Where can I get more information?

General information is available in OSH Answers or through the CCOHS person-to-person Inquiries Service.

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Document last updated on July 17, 2014

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