Q: I am in the process of remodeling my garage to make it more woodworking friendly. Someone suggested that I should have a first-aid kit in the shop. My question is: Rather than just put in a regular first-aid kit, which is normally packed tight with a bit of everything, what do you recommend I keep in it, other than Band-Aids® and tweezers? I want to have the really important items on hand if I need them.
A: A well-stocked woodshop first-aid kit should have all the things you’d have in a regular household kit, including an assortment of Band-Aids; some antiseptic wipes and a tube of disinfectant ointment such as Mycitracin, for everyday small cuts, scrapes and light burns; a roll of sterile gauze; scissors and a few large triangular bandages or 4" x 4" gauze pads for larger wounds; a good pair of fine tweezers for removing splinters; and an up-to-date emergency first-aid guide. Additionally, woodshop kits should contain: An eye cup, a small mirror and some boric acid solution, to help flush sawdust particles from the eyes; butterfly bandages, to close large lacerations; a clean plastic bag, to keep (God forbid) amputated fingers clean on the way to the ER; and an instant cold compress, to reduce swelling due to injuries (and to chill amputated parts). Also, don’t forget to include medications you might need in a hurry (nitroglycerine tablets, asthma inhaler, etc.), stored in well-labeled containers. Finally, make sure to post your doctor’s phone number as well as the number of your local hospital or ER next to your phone, just in case.