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Howard Cohen

Health Matters

Apr 2, 2009

Howard Cohen

Howard Cohen

This article appeared in our 2009 April issue of Chips & Chatter.

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Both Dave Fiend and Colin Mackenzie, M.D. presented some of their thoughts and experiences related to physical and health safety issues. Below are just some of the points that they covered.


Physical safety (Dave)


  1. Someone broke their finger sticking it in a rotating piece of wood.

  2. Don’t pinch hands on rest.

  3. Dull tools are harder to use, more risk to safety.

  4. “Familiarity breeds stupidity”

  5. Adjust rest with tool off. Make sure piece spins freely

  6. Face and eye protection. Good face shield. Prescription glasses are not adequate. There is eye protection and face protection.

  7. Think about gloves when applying finish; absorption into skin gets into lungs. Well ventilated when applying finish.

  8. Slip hazards; sweep up!

  9. Electricity - make sure everything is properly grounded. Especially dust collector. Can be explosive. Could even jump and blow up electronics.


Health (Colin)


  1. There are preventable and non preventable accidents

  2. Preventable: have a routine for starting up and shutting down. Proper shoes - don’t use sandals, jeans protect.

  3. Cancer of the sinuses is leading cancer from dust. If elderly you cannot live long enough to get the cancer. Phlegm after turning means you have taken in dust; it is lungs way of rejecting foreign stuff. Ideally you should be dust free. Dave says one of the best masks comes from cartridge respirators. Rich asked about micron levels. Can use a fan to move dust away.

  4. Lathe placement, shop lighting. Turn lathe speed down before turning it off for next time. Loose clothing is a bad thing. Don’t wear long sleeves. If you drop something, turn the lathe off before picking it up.

  5. Know your blood pressure at home; may be different than in the doctor’s office and you may be over medicated. Especially if you go to hospital and prescribed by other than your regular dr.

  6. PSA is a waste of time for anyone over 75.

  7. Strokes - time is important.

  8. Emergency room - ask questions and if not satisfied insist on getting some help.

  9. Age and forgetting. If you forget where your car is parked, this is not a problem. If you forget you have car, then that’s a problem. Senility: A little test; draw a clock face with all the numbers, hour hand and minute hand. If you can do this ok, then not to worry. Another test is subtracting 7 from 100 and 7 from each successive result. If you can do that, don’t worry.