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You can injure yourself with any use of a wood working machine including the lathe. You need to know the actions which are potentially unsafe and learn the safe manner of handling all tools and safely operate the equipment. To minimize your chance of injury you should know all actions that are likely to be unsafe. Develop safe work habits with a strong awareness of safety.
Safety should include not wearing loose clothes or not controlling long hair that may get caught in the lathe. Wear proper foot protection if a tool should fall from your hands. Eye protection is essential and you should always wear safety goggles when around or working with the lathe. Dust and wood chips can be very dangerous to your lungs and adequate measures including the use of respirators and dust extractors should be used. Hearing protection is essential as the sound of the machines can damage hearing in a very short time. Ensure the floor is level, dry and clean of obstacles. Ensure good lighting. Have all electrical work done by electricians and be properly grounded and supported. Maintain a first aid kit and inform others that you are working in your shop. Never let parts of your hands go beyond the tool rest and when checking the turned object shut off power to the lathe and wait until it stops. Ensure the wood is free of defects, and the wood is properly attached with adequate screws and chucks to the wood to be turned. Be sure the tool is grounded to the tool rest before it is presented to the wood that is turning. Stand aside when you start the lathed to be out of the path of the wood if is should fragment or become loose.
This list is not all inclusive and you should use good common sense and refer to books on turning to study all the safety methods mentioned for the hobby.