Hand and Portable Power Tools: General Guidelines

Hand and Portable Power Tools: General Guidelines

Use of tools is rather straightforward but many injuries result from their misuse.  To use them correctly, there are four basic safe practices:

  1. Select the right tool for the job.

Do not permit unsafe practices, such as striking hardened faces of hand tools together (such as using a carpenter’s hammer to strike another hammer, hatchet, or metal chisel), or using a file for a pry, a wrench for a hammer, and pliers instead of the proper wrench.

  1. Keep tools in good condition.

Tools that have deteriorated to these conditions should not be used until repaired to meet factory specifications: wrenches with cracked or worn jaws; screw drivers with broken bits (points) or broken handles; hammers with loose heads; dull saws; deteriorated extension cords or power cords on electric tools or broken plugs; and improper or removed grounding systems.

  1. Use tools in the right way.

Screw drivers applied to objects held in the hand, knives pulled toward the body, and failure to ground electrical equipment are common causes of accidents.

  1. Keep tools in a safe place.

Many accidents have been caused by tools falling from overhead and by knives, chisels, and other sharp tools carried in pockets or left in tool boxes with cutting edges exposed.

To control tool accidents supervisors should do the following:

  1. Train employees to select the right tools for each job. Good job safety analysis and job instruction training helps here.
  2. Establish regular tool inspection procedures (including inspection of employee-owned tools), and provide good repair facilities to make sure that tools will be maintained in safe condition.
  3. Train and supervise employees in the correct use of tools for each job.
  4. Establish a procedure for control of company tools, such as a checkout system at tool cribs.
  5. Provide proper storage facilities in the tool room and on the job.

Other considerations might be recognized when power tools are used. Burns, cuts, strains, electric shock, fires, and explosives might result from their use. Be certain the rating is proper for the area and the electric wiring is in good shape.