When I first started turning my parents bought me Woodturning: A Foundation Course By Keith Rowley. My dad wrote, "Happy Turning!" and my mom inscribed "Watch where you put your fingers!" inside the front cover. Little did I know that this would come to be an important piece of advise as I started to teach myself to turn. I have scars on my fingers proving this! Soon I was looking for more words of wisdom to turn more safely.
Probably the best advice I found, and I wish I remember where if found it, was to use the principles of work S.A.F.E.R.
S -Speed compatible with the size of the wood to be turned?
A -Aside - Stand out of the “Firing Line”
F -Fastened - Are all locking handles secured?
E -Eye Protection - Safety Glasses and Face Shield
R -ROTATE -The wood freehand to spin freely
I typed this up in big bold letters, printed it and stuck it on the wall behind my lathe. I recommend you do the same if you are just starting out or a seasoned vet.
Happy Turning, but "Watch where you put your fingers".