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Safety In The Shop

    With motorcyclists, you get people from all backrounds, and with different skill levels. Some just ride and leave all maintenance up to the dealer, or an independent shop. Others do all their service work, and then there are those who completely tear them apart and rebuild them. Going by the above description, some owners may have a few tools ,while others may have very well equipped shops, depends on the individuals level of skill and involvement. Regardless, when working on any equipment, safety must come first. Unfortunately, being human, we become complacent, and that is when you will get bit, or worse. Hopefully some of the below points will hit home.
    Consider wearing rubber gloves if you will be coming in contact with any petroleum products, when working on your bike. When chemicals come in contact with the skin they are absorbed, and deposit themselves in your bone marrow. Later in life they can be released into your body, causing all sorts of nasty things to happen. Cosco sells boxes of one hundred pairs for ten insurance. If you are going to be using power tools or equipment that throw particulate, oils, or anything else, eye and face protection is the way to go. A good pair of safety glasses and a face sheild is a lot better that metal in your eyes. I would also consider wearing gloves when using drills, grinders, drill presses, milling machines, or the lathe. Loose fitting clothing, jewellery, and long hair are not reccomended when using rotating machinery. I reccomend leaving the guards on tools, they are there for a'll find out why when you take them off. Don't forget to control your sparks.
    With welding and cutting equipment you will first need to ensure the work area is clear of combustables. Have a fire extinguisher on hand, and a water source. You will need a welding sheild with the correct sheilding lense installed, or goggles if cutting. Wear clothing that is fire resistant and that fully covers your skin as the rays from welding can cause skin cancer, and burns. You might also consider wearing a respirator to protect against smoke inhalation, as the welding process gives off poisonous gasses.
    Painting, sand blasting, and powder coating are jobs i usually farm out because they are nasty to do and require special equipment and accomodations. If you decide to try this on your own i would reccomend appropriate respiratory protection, eye/ face protection, and possibly purpose built suits for painting or abrasive blasting. Considering the mess these processes create, it's worth letting a professional do.
    keeping a clean shop has several benefits. Clutter can cause tripping hazards resulting in injury to you, and that is no good. Excess junk can also be a fire hazard, something you don't want anything to do with. Keeping things clean actually increases your productivity and quality of work. Imagine building a new engine with junk piled all over the place. Junk harbours dust, and you don't want that in your new engine. Losing parts is also a real issue when trying to work in a shop that is not well me. If you are like most, you only have so much time to devote to your you really want to spend your time looking for things because your work area is a mess??
    If you have oxy-acetelyne, propane, map gas, or other combustable/ pressurised cylinders in your shop, secure them to a wall with chain, and be sure the guages are removed, valves shut off, and safety caps in place. Keeping all your chemicals and aerosols in one place is a good idea, basically, everything has its place.
    Use the right tool for the job at hand. Using a wrench as a hammer, or using cheater bars, can put more stress on a tool than it was designed for. If it breaks you may be seriously injured. Modifying tools is another thing you want to stay away from if at all possible. Having a first aid kit in your shop is a must, and make it a good sized one. 
    If there are young children in your life my suggestion is to keep them out of your shop at all costs. They mean no harm, but are curious and have the potential to get into stuff that can hurt them in many ways. Unfurtunately, once the injury has occured it's too late, and hindsight is 20/20.  
    Make use of good lighting so you can see what you are doing. Make sure your work space is electrically wired properly to handle the load you will be putting on it. Blown fuses, tripped breakers, and worse, fires, are not fun.
    Using common sense when working on your motorcycle will result in the enjoyable experience you wanted in the first place, injury free, and the work you perform will be of higher quality. Have fun!!