Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Sanding Machine Safety

Sanding Machine Safety

General Safety Practices

As both belt and disk sanders can cause serious skin burns with incorrect use, operators must be thoroughly trained in the safe handling of this piece of equipment.

  1. Always wear safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles.
  2. Keep the work area free of debris.
  3. Have the dust extracting system turned on and connected to the sander. Because of the dust created when sanding wood, the fire and explosion hazard is considerable.
  4. Ensure that fire extinguishers are available and that persons working with the equipment know how to operate the extinguishers.
  5. Make sure that the sanding belt tracks properly.
  6. On the disk sander, use only the side of the disk that travels downward.
  7. Whenever possible, use the table to support the work.
  8. Check that the sander does not have a torn belt or ripped sandpaper disk. The work could get caught and kick back.
  9. Loose jewelry, neckties, and loose fitting clothing should not be worn. Tie back long hair.
  10. Whenever possible, use jigs or fixtures to hold the workpiece.


  1. Before plugging-in a portable sander be sure that the switch is in the "OFF" position to avoid injury.
  2. Be aware of where the cord is relation to your work. Damaged cords can result in electrical shock. A sander should not be used in a damp or wet location.
  3. When adjusting the tracking on a portable belt sander, be sure that the sander is supported and positioned to avoid contact with the operator.
  4. The sander should be used away form the body.
  5. Keep fingers away form the moving belt or disk
  6. Do not force a portable sander. The weight of the sander provides enough force for a job. Excessive pressure could result in the overheating of equipment and kickback of the material being sanded.
  7. Do not expose a portable sander to liquids.
  8. Use a brush to clean away debris from the sanding machines. Do not use your hands.
  9. As with all power equipment, do not leave the machine running. Ensure that the machine has come to a complete stop before leaving the machine.
  10. Make sure that the sanding machine travels in the correct direction. Arrows on the back of the belt indicate the direction of travel that prevents your work from catching the belt's joint.