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Hand Tool/Power Tool Safety

One key issue associated with hand tool safety is choosing and using the right tool.  Approximately 8% of industrial accidents result from improper use of hand tools.  Injuries range from simple cuts and abrasions to fractures and punctures.

Below are examples of improper use of hand tools.  Have you done any of these?

>Pushing rather than pulling a wrench to loosen or tighten
>Bending metal with undersized pliers, which can damage the pliers
>Holding an item you’re working on in one hand while attempting to remove a screw with a screwdriver in the other hand
>Cutting toward your body with a cutting tool
>Using dull cutting tools
>Using a tool not properly sized for the job; (ex. Sockets slightly larger than the fastener)
>Filing materials not properly secured in a vise with no handle on the file

Not only do you need to use a tool properly but, it needs to be in good shape.  Take a moment to inspect and ensure it is in good shape.  Here are some things to look for:

>A hammer with a loose or broken handle
>A screwdriver with a worn or broken tip
>A cutting tool with a dull surface
>A chisel with a mushroom head
>Tools that have had their temper removed

Hand tools can be a dangerous as power tools so, make sure you use them correctly.  Below are some safety precautions/tips when using power tools.

>Do not remove safety guards from power tools, such as those on a circular saw
>Disconnect power tools when not in use, before servicing, and changing out accessories.  Do not yank a cord from an electric outlet
>Tools should be used within their designed safety limits
>Examine power tools before use and keep up with maintenance to ensure equipment is working properly.

Improper use and maintenance are the greatest hazards of hand and power tools.

Brian Rudduck
Assistant Director Environmental Health & Life Safety
Environmental Health and Safety/Risk Management  
Department of Facilities Management

Archive of Safety Information

If you are interested in reviewing past safety articles, please access the following link:

Archive of Safety Information>>>