If you stop to think about it, how many hand tools do you have around your house? Most houses have hammers, flashlights, pliers, screwdrivers, knives, scissors, shovels, hoes, staplers, and wrenches. Tools are such a common part of our lives that it is hard to remember that they could pose hazards. The tools are designed with safety in mind, but tragically, a serious accident often occurs before steps are taken to search out and avoid or eliminate tool-related hazards.
In the workplace, to remove or avoid hazards, workers must learn to recognize hazards associated with different types of tools and the safety precautions necessary to prevent those hazards. Hand tools are non-powered. This includes everything from axes to wrenches. Misuse and improper maintenance are two of the greatest hazards posed by hand tools. The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees – however, the employees are responsible for properly using and maintaining tools.
Hand tools are indispensable helpmates. They have played a vital role in helping in endless tasks like cutting, drilling, chopping, slicing, stripping, striking, punching, gripping, etc. They have a very important place not only in daily routine work and home repairs but also in various industries, farm shops, vehicles, machinery or facility repair. If they are not used with care and maintained properly, they can lead to serious injuries, such as: loss of eye; puncture wounds, contusions, severed fingers, and broken bones.
Here are tips for hand tools safety:
- Always choose the right tool for the right job: for example, don’t use a knife as a saw or a wrench as a hammer or screwdriver as a chisel, etc.
- Use the right size tool – forcing a small hand tool to do the job of a large one may result in tool damage or injury.
- Proper training: users should know how to use the tool correctly. One example: a wood chisel should be driven outward and away from the body.
- Wear the right protection for the job. Protective clothing such as safety eyewear and goggles, facemasks, coveralls, and appropriate shoes should be chosen for the particular job. Gloves can sometimes be bulky and make gripping difficult, so if there is a need for gloves, choose ones that furnish a good grip.
- Keep cutting tools sharp and in good condition. Dull tools are considered to be more hazardous than sharp ones. The tools and work area should always be kept clean. Dirty, oily and greasy tools should be cleaned after use.
- Inspect tools before using. Don’t use tools that are loose or cracked.
- Tools with “mushroomed heads” during use should be sharpened regularly.
- Sharp-edged and pointed tools should be handled with care.
- Store tools and materials vertically, with points and heavy end down.
- Don’t force screws; make sure that the correct screw for the job is being used.
- All small work and short work should be secured with a vise or clamp.
- Never use a screwdriver to check if electrical circuits are hot. (Ouch!)
- Never use a carpenter’s hammer instead of a machinist’s hammer.
- Never strike a hardened steel surface using a steel hammer, because a small piece of steel may break off and injure someone.
- Do not use pliers in place of a wrench.
- Razor blades, saw blades, knife blades should be disposed of in a puncture-resistant sharps container.
- Never use wrenches if their jaws are sprung or loose.
We hope those who use these types of tools in their line of work will take every precaution to work safely. I, for one, have decided I will let my husband do all the little carpentry work that I thought I could do. I’ve even stuck myself when chopping ice with an ice pick, so I can only imagine what damage I could do with a saw or wrench! That’s not to say there aren’t lots of women out there that can compete with the men! (There’s all sorts of small safety glasses sized for the ladies. Click on womens gloves to view several items sized especially for the girls). When you reach for that wrench, knife, shears, bolt cutters, or whatever, use with caution!
P.S. As stated on our home page, if you need any safety products, go to www.tasco-safety.com, and be sure to mention “safety blog 5% discount offer.”