August: Hand and Power Tool Safety
Tools are such a common part of our lives that it is difficult to remember that they may pose hazards. All tools are manufactured 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 process of removing or avoiding the hazards, workers must learn to recognize the hazards associated with the different types of tools and the safety precautions necessary to prevent those hazards.
Hand tools are non-powered. They include anything from axes to wrenches. The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.
The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees but the employees have the responsibility for properly using and maintaining tools.
Employers should caution employees that saw blades, knives, or other tools be directed away from aisle areas and other employees working in close proximity. Knives and scissors must be sharp. Dull tools can be more hazardous than sharp ones.
Appropriate personal protective equipment, e.g., safety goggles, gloves, etc., should be worn due to hazards that may be encountered while using portable power tools and hand tools.
POWER TOOL PRECAUTIONS
Power tools can be hazardous when improperly used. There are several types of power tools, based on the power source they use: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, and powder-actuated.
Employees should be trained in the use of all tools – not just power tools. They should understand the potential hazards as well as the safety precautions to prevent those hazards from occurring.
GENERAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Employees who use hand and power tools and who are exposed to the hazards of falling, flying, abrasive and splashing objects, or exposed to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases must be provided with the particular personal equipment necessary to protect them from the hazard.
All hazards involved in the use of power tools can be prevented by following five basic safety rules:
- Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance.
- Use the right tool for the job.
- Examine each tool for damage before use.
- Operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Provide and use the proper protective equipment.
Employees and employers have a responsibility to work together to establish safe working procedures. If a hazardous situation is encountered, it should be brought to the attention of the proper individual immediately.
Acknowledgements to Occupational Safety & Health Administration: