In my upcoming Wrenching with Rachel video, I talk about some important things you can do to keep yourself safe while working in the shop. If your shop is anything like mine, though, it’s not enough just to keep yourself safe – you need to think of others too! Having visitors in the shop is a lot of fun, but it can also be a danger. Especially when your visitors are children or pets, you’ll want to think through some things before you welcome them into your shop.
First, tidy up your workspace. Clear wide walkways, put away open pans of oil and antifreeze, and stabilize anything that might fall. It’s easy to grow blind to the dangers in our own shops, but try to look with new eyes for things that need to be tidied up before you welcome a young guest or family pet into your shop.
Second, plan what your visitor will do. A dog might need to be accompanied for a tour of the shop, then given a comfortable place to lay down. An older, well-trained dog may be trusted to stay out of trouble at your command, but a more curious pet will need a leash. Be sure to have water available for your pet, especially on a hot day.
Children need things to do as well. My post on kids in the shop give some ideas of useful things young visitors can do. As a child, I really enjoyed riding my tricycle around and delivering floor-dry and tools to my dad. Whatever you come up with, have a plan and make your expectations clear. Take the time to model good safety habits to your young visitors, too. Having a pair of child-sized safety glasses and work gloves just for them can make things fun!
Finally, know when it is time for your visitors to leave. There are some things you will do in the shop that aren’t for children or pets. Welding is a good example – dogs can get welder’s flash too! So send your visitors away when you are doing something that is unsafe for them to observe, or when you need to devote your entire attention to what you are working on.
It’s worthwhile to have visitors in your shop, both for your own sake and in order to teach the next generation the joys of old iron. I hope you and your loved ones have a fun and safe time!