A face shield is a must for safety. There are a number of good books out there that can teach you proper tool angle and technique. Also search for John Lucas on youtube and watch his instructional videos, he does a great job explaining how the tools work and how to use them correctly. A woodturning class or club that does demos is very helpful as well if nothing else to make contact with someone who can work with your schedule to show you how a lathe works.
I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.