Hammers, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers and other similar hand tools are too-often underrated and not viewed as potentially dangerous. Most people view hand tools as simple to use, therefore thinking there is little or no safety protocol necessary. Injuries from hand tools can range from simple cuts, contusions and abrasions to amputations and fractures. The most important factor in hand tool safety is choosing and using the right tool for the job at hand.
Things to remember to avoid such injuries include:
- Do not use broken or damaged tools
- Cut in the direction away from the body
- When using large tools, make sure grip and footing are secure
- Keep tools in good condition; a dull or blunt point can result in an injury
“Power tools” are called such for a reason; they are powered and have the potential to amputate, break bones, electrocute and even kill the operator.
Problems using power tools include:
- Not following instructions
- Using improperly grounded, non-double insulated tools
- Removing protective guards
- Using dull cutting edges or blades and
- Twisting or getting the electrical cord hung up on something (such as a ladder).
There are simple solutions to prevent injuries from power tools:
- Have proper training in power tool use
- Ensure that all power tools are in good working condition
- Regular maintenance and inspection are key to power tool safety
- Never carry a tool by the cord or hose
- Never yank the cord to disconnect it
- Avoid accidental start-up by keeping fingers off the switch button while carrying a plugged-in tool
- Wear appropriate clothing for the job; no loose shirts or items to avoid entanglement
- Remove all damaged tools from service and tag them “Do not use.”