OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
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:
- Use of various machinery and tools.
- Exposure to loud noise from machinery and tools.
- Moulds, fungi and bacteria.
- Chemicals, solvents and other materials - dermatitis, allergic reactions or respiratory problems.
- Cancer risk from wood dust.
- Flammable or combustible materials, including wood dust.
- Risk of pain or injury from working in awkward positions, performing repetitive tasks, or lifting.
- Risk of entanglement of body parts into rotating parts or machinery.
- Extreme temperatures when working outdoors.
- Risk of eye injury from flying particles.
- Working at heights.
- Shift work or extended work days.
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?
- Work safely with all equipment:
- Use, maintain and store personal protective equipment as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Follow safe lifting techniques.
- Follow company safety rules.
- Learn about chemical hazards, WHMIS and MSDSs.
- Know how to report a hazard.
- Follow good housekeeping procedures.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.