Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Thickness Planer Safety

Thickness Planer Safety


  1. Safety goggles or safety glasses with side shields must be worn.
  2. If the planer does not have a soundproof enclosure around it, provide hearing protection for all persons that will be working in the vicinity.
  3. The cutter heads of the planer should be completely enclosed with solid metal guards. Ensure that these are in place prior to operation.
  4. Thickness- The thickness of the lumber should be examined before you plane it. Lumber less than 10 mm can be planed by:
    • Ensure that an instructor is supervising.
    • Place the thin board on top of a thicker board (at least 19 mm thick) and
    • Run both boards through the planer together.
    • Stock that is thicker at one end than the other should be planed by inserting the thicker end into the planer first.
  5. Length-
    • Lumber less than 50 mm longer between the distance of the infeed and the outfeed cannot be safely planed as it may jam the machine.
    • Lumber that is quite long must have adequate space at the outfeed end of the planer. The planer should not be too close to a wall.
    • Be careful when planing short stock. Infeed rollers will sometimes cause short stock to quickly tilt up and then down. This can cause a pinch point for fingers between the table and the stock.
  6. Width-
    Examine the width of the lumber. Most planers remove a maximum of 3 mm per pass. If a narrow piece of lumber is being planed, the maximum amount may be removed. A piece that it at the maximum width of the planer may cause the motor to overheat and the cutter to stall. If the motor does stall, follow lock out procedure (turn off the power switch) and lower the table prior to restarting the machine.
  7. Check the board for loose knots, nails, staples, dirt, sand or other foreign objects that could come free during the planing process, harming you or the machine.
  8. Lumber that does not have square ends cannot be planed as the ends can catch on the pressure bar and jam.
  9. Ensure that the dust removal equipment is working properly before starting the planer.
  10. To prevent other people from getting struck by long, fast moving boards, fence or mark off the space at the outrunning end.
  11. Lumber that has a varnish or finish on it should not be planed, as the dust created may be harmful to your health. Also the painted or varnished finish will quickly dull the machine's knives.
  12. Prior to starting the machine, lower the table and remove any wood shavings, loose knots and slivers of wood from the table and roller assembly.


  1. Wear safety goggles or safety glasses with side shields.
  2. Stand to one side when using the planer.
  3. Do not allow the stock to feed through your hands when the machine self feeds. This will prevent any slivers being forced into your skin at the same rate the planer is planing the wood.
  4. Operators should stop and lockout the feeder rolls, cutter heads and cylinders in accordance with TRU's Lockout Procedure before placing their hands in the bed plate to remove wood fragments, to make adjustments or for any other reason.
  5. Wood chips and knots are frequently thrown out of the planer, therefore operators should not look into the planer to watch the operation.
  6. Other persons should not work or walk directly behind the feeding end of the planer. A barrier or guardrail should be used when the machine is running to prevent this from occurring.
  7. When removing lumber from the outfeed of the planer, never come between the end of a long plank and an immovable object such as a wall.
Search To Top