Discussion on first aid kit appropriate for small woodworking shop

There’s a discussion going on in the Festool Owners Group which might be appropriate for this audience as well. The topic is an appropriate first aid kit for a small woodworking shop. That particular discussion is around coming up with a kit which fits in a Tanos Systainer which may or not matter to this group depending on whether you’re also a Festool user.

The interesting parts of the discussion are that lots of first aid kits have stuff for outdoors and camping (bear repellent and space blankets) which someone buying a first aid kit for a garage woodworking shop will never care about. Even bee sting kits probably only matter if you are doing building on location. However woodworking involves tools which can involve cut off body parts and lots of blood which could happen when nobody else is around, so self service options are a high priority. I looked at a few prepackaged first aid kits online and they all seemed to contain lots of stuff I wouldn’t have a use for and didn’t address the real bad situations a woodworker will hopefully never encounter but must prepare for.

An appropriate first aid kit is also something that is easy to blow off when setting up a small business shop until it’s too late.

I did come across a custom kit builder at Mfasco, but the options there are a bit overwhelming so I’ve asked them for a recommendation.


Great idea for discussion. I’m wilderness first aid trained and have a couple of different kits, but never thought about shop specific.

My thinking is that cuts/scrapes of all variety are the biggest hazards. But also chemical and electrical (e.g. you sawed through the power cord). Also risk of large or awkward things falling and striking you. Depending on what you do, risk of fumes or burns.

Obvious includes things like bandaids, gauze, cleaning pad and those very basic types of items for nicks and cuts. A clean old towel. Quality tweezers for splinters and whatnot. Most of the kit could be built in the first aid aisle of any decent store.

For major cuts, other than always having a phone handy to call before shock sets in, I would suggest an Israeli Bandage and some type of blood clotting sponge (like Quick Clot).

This discussion made me think of something I hadn’t before, which is an eyewash kit. With all the stuff floating about the shop and chemicals in use I’d hardly be surprised to need it. They’re not very expensive and easily searchable on Amazon.

Having a family that knows compression-only CPR is a great idea, shop or no. For the most part, houses and woodshops are within 8 to 12 minutes of paramedics being there. Unlike wilderness survival, you just have to think of how to not bleed out or lose oxygen to the brain for that short period of time.

As always … the most important item in a crisis is the one resting between your ears. Just thinking about the topic and maybe doing some reading or youtubing puts you far ahead of most.

I would recommend a gunshot / bleed trauma kit. These should include a tourniquet, quick clot pads, and pressure bandages. They are typically designed to be accessed and used with one hand.

Will check that out, sounds appropriate.

On another note I really have to laugh at how my very clean hobbies have made my search history look. For example I bought a K40 laser engraver and started to look at air ventilation/filtration options. Well it turns out that the OTHER group of people looking at similar solutions are indoor pot growers. Then from my 3D printing hobby I heard that a rock tumbler can be used for refining the surface of 3D prints, but it turns out the same people buying those are “polishing brass for reloading”. Then I started to investigate coatings which are applied to metal that allows it to be marked with a CO2 laser, but that stuff is apparently also used for marking guns. Now for a workshop first aid kit I’m searching for gun shot trauma kits… Great, maybe I should leave out cookies for whomever will be crawling through my window at 3am.

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I know exactly what you mean! I installed a ventilation system for 3D printers last fall, and the best solution I found for my space was an “indoor gardening” air mover.

We also started a lot of seeds for the garden this spring with LED grow lights… our home had bright purple light shining out of quite a few windows for a month.

Combine that with the high household energy usage and a hot IR roof footprint, and I am almost surprised no one has come knocking for a health and safety inspection! It would be fun to give them a tour of my makerspace :slight_smile:

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That is funny on hobbies!

Looking at the link at top, I see recommendations for a clean ziplock freezer bag nested inside another one.

When half a digit is laying there on the bandsaw is not the time to be deciding what to do with it. Have a plan.

(Also chemical ice packs if no convenient fridge.)

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In my post I reccomend Israeli bandages… curious if you have a different suggestion. Always trying to improve my kits

My nephew is an army medic and says they go through Israeli bandages like you wouldn’t believe.

Hi Drew,

I saw you mention the Israeli bandages and quick clot. Those are lifesavers. If you are piecing together a kit or adding on to a standard first aid kit, I would also add a RAT tourniquet.

Another thing I keep with my kit is CA glue. A deep cut can be staunched then closed quickly with glue until it can be properly cleaned and stitched.

I mentioned the gunshot / trauma kits because they are much more suited for severe shop injuries and can be picked up ready to hang on the wall. I also consider it an advantage that they don’t have the traditional home first aid items for minor injuries. If I ever have to deal with a critical injury, I don’t want to have to dig through bandaids, burn creme and antiseptic patches.

I figure a hand injury is the most likely, so a kit that can be opened and used with one hand is a must for me.

When I get a minor injury I can walk in the house and grab the home kit. With a serious injury seconds count. (the jointer particularly terrifies me…)

I have two kits in my woodshop on opposite walls, right next to the small fire extinguishers.

I think the most important thing is having the supplies on hand. The second is learning how to use them correctly. There won’t be time to read the included manual when something happens.

I like your idea for chemical ice packs. I had not thought about saving a severed digit. I have a small beverage fridge I think I would toss the finger in there after stopping the bleeding.