3IntroductionEveryday, tools help us build and repair a variety of things. Some tools are more powerful and dangerous than others, but any tool can cause you harm if not used properly.
4IntroductionUnfortunately, potential hazards are often forgotten or disregarded making work environments where hand and power tools are used unsafe for employees and bystanders.
5IntroductionBut by learning how to handle tools correctly, and wearing the correct personal protective equipment, you can help ensure a safe work environment for everyone.
6IntroductionBecause tools are such a routine part of our everyday lives, it’s easy to forget how dangerous they can be. Electric and pneumatic power tools can make performing a task easier and more efficient, while minimizing wear and stress on the body. But the same thing that makes power tools so useful, their motor-driven energy and speed, can also create potential hazards for you.
7IntroductionWhile injuries from manually powered hand tools are often less serious than injuries from power tools, hand tool injuries occur more frequently and include eye loss, fractures, punctures, cuts and bruises. Most hand and power tool hazards can be traced to either using a tool improperly or poor maintenance. But by remembering the risks and following basic safety procedures while in the shop or out on the job, accidents can be avoided.
8Preparing To WorkThe first step in working safely with hand and power tools is to maintain a safe work environment.
9Preparing To WorkMake sure the lighting in the area where you’ll be working is adequate. Cluttered work areas invite accidents -- tools left on the floor can become trip hazards, while tools scattered on a bench or ledge can fall off and injure someone.
10Preparing To WorkStore tools in a dry, secure location when not in use. To prevent accidental slips, keep floors as clean and dry as possible.
11Preparing To WorkWhen working with hand and power tools dress appropriately. Before using power tools, tie back hair that is shoulder length or longer and avoid wearing jewelry or loose clothing that can catch in rotating parts.
12Preparing To WorkThe personal protective equipment you’ll need to wear depends on the type of tools you will be workingwith. Each hand or power tool you use may require specific personal protective equipment that you should be aware of.
13Preparing To WorkFor example, cutting, grinding, chipping and sanding are a few of the tasks that can produce flying objects or dust, and safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles are a must.
14Preparing To WorkIf an activity generates fine or toxic dusts, check your company’s written Respiratory Protection Program to determine the respirator or dust mask you will need towear.
15Preparing To WorkWhen using power tools, hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs must be worn if noise levels reach 85 decibels or more, averaged over an 8-hour time period.
16Preparing To WorkIn most situations, work shoes or boots with sturdy leather uppers and non-skid soles are appropriate. Choosing footwear with a reinforced toe provides additional protection against dropped equipment,while a non-conductive sole provides additional protection against hazardous electricity.
17Preparing To WorkWearing the appropriate gloves can protect from splinters and minor cuts, and reduce the impact of vibration. But, when working with some power tools such as drills or saws, gloves themselves can become a hazard and should not be worn.
18Preparing To WorkIf you have any questions about the type of personal protective equipment you’ll need for the tools you use, ask your supervisor.
19Choosing The Right Tool Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper use and maintenance of hand and power tools.
20Choosing The Right Tool When selecting blades, bits, cutters, grinding wheels or other attachments for power tools, the manufacturer’s recommendations provide the best guide.
21Choosing The Right Tool Remember that each tool is designed to do only certain jobs. For example, never substitute a screwdriver for another type of tool, just because the screwdriver is handy. Using a screwdriver as achisel or pry bar can easily cause it to break or chip, exposing you or a nearby coworker to injury.
22Choosing The Right Tool Pliers are a versatile tool, but do not use them in place of a wrench. Plier jaws are flexible and non-locking, making it difficult to turn tight nuts and bolts without slipping.
23Choosing The Right Tool Choosing the right tool for each task isn’t just a smart safety decision – it is another way of improving productivity while turning out higher quality work.
24Choosing The Right Tool Before using any tool inspect its condition to make sure it can function safely. If the handle on a toolsuch as a hammer or an axe is loose, splintered or cracked, the head of the tool may fly off and strike you or a coworker. Instead of taping the handle or attempting to “get by” – have the handle replaced before using the tool.
25Choosing The Right Tool Discard wrenches that have cracked, sprung or worn jaws – they can easily slip and cause aninjury.
26Choosing The Right Tool With repeated use, impact tools such as chisels and wedges can develop mushroomed heads – when used in that condition, they can shatter on impact, sending sharp fragments flying.
27Choosing The Right Tool To work safely, recondition or replace these tools as necessary.
28Choosing The Right Tool Inspect the body of electric tools for cracks or other damage. Check that power cords are not frayed, and that plugs do not have loose or broken prongs.
29Choosing The Right Tool Whether the tool’s power switch can be locked in the “on” position, or automatically shuts power off when the trigger is released, the switch should operate freely without sticking.
30Choosing The Right Tool Replace drill or router bits that are dull or bent, and saw blades with teeth that are dull, chipped or missing.
31Choosing The Right Tool Before mounting an abrasive wheel test it for cracks by gently tapping it with a light, nonmetallic instrument. If, instead of a clear metallic tone, it sounds cracked or dead, do not use it – the wheel could fly apart in operation.
32Choosing The Right Tool Many power tools have safety guards to prevent contact with potential hazards such as rotating parts, blades, pinch points, flying particles, or sparks. Before using a power tool, check that the appropriate guards are in place and working properly.
33Choosing The Right Tool A circular saw, for example, has two guards. The upper guard is fixed; the lower guard retracts while making a cut. To protect the operator from contactwith the moving blade, the lower guard automatically returns to the covering position when the tool is withdrawn.
34Using Tools SafelyEvery hand and power tool has built-in design limitations. Overloading a tool by pushing it beyond its range of safe operation can damage the tool and cause injury. For this reason, it’s important to operate all tools according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
35Using Tools SafelyTo prevent accidental start-ups, run the extension cord to the work site before connecting it to a power tool, and, before plugging in a tool, always make sure the power switch is in the “off” position.
36Using Tools SafelyWhen carrying a plugged-in tool, remember to keep your finger off the start switch. To avoid creating a trip hazard or causing damage to electrical cords, keep them off of pathways or, when this is not possible, place a rollover protector over the cord.
37Using Tools SafelyCarrying screwdrivers, chisels, punches or other sharp- edged tools in your pocket could cause a serious injury if you trip – use a toolbelt, a cart, or a toolbox instead.
38Using Tools SafelyA knife should be carried in a sheath or holder, placed over the hip rather than on the front part of the belt.
39Using Tools SafelyWhen climbing a ladder, carry your tools on a toolbelt, or hoist the tools to the work location using a bucket or bag that’s secured to a rope. This leaves both hands free so that you can maintain three points of contact with the ladder for safer climbing.
40Using Tools SafelyOnly use tools around live electrical systems if you are qualified to do so. Choose pliers, screwdrivers or wire cutters that have an insulated grip, and check that the protective covering is free of cracks or holes.
41Using Tools SafelyIf working around flammable gases, highly volatile liquids, or other explosive substances only use power tools that have been specially designed to be explosion proof.
42Using Tools SafelyEven metal hand tools can produce sparks that could be an ignition source. Where a flammable or explosive hazard exists, use spark-resistant hand tools made of non-ferrous materials.
43Using Tools SafelyWhen using hand or power tools, make sure your hands are free of oil and grease to prevent slipping. Before using a power saw, inspect the material to be cut for nails, staples, or other objects that could create potential hazards if struck by a rotating blade.
44Using Tools SafelyTake note of your surroundings before beginning any cutting or striking activity, and direct the tool away from aisle areas and other employees working nearby.
45Using Tools SafelyWhen working with pneumatic tools, the most common danger is getting struck by one of the tool’s attachments or by a fastener shot from the tool such as a staple or nail.
46Using Tools SafelyTo prevent this, first, always check that the tool you will be using is securely fastened to the air hose and any attachment is secured to the tool.
47Using Tools SafelyWhether a tool contains a fastener or not, never point it at yourself or anyone else. Be aware that many pneumatic tools have a trigger that is easily activated – to stay safe, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to begin working.
48Using Tools SafelyMaintain good balance while using power tools by distributing your weight equally on both feet, and do not overreach.
49Using Tools SafelyWait for the tool to achieve operating speed before beginning work. Once started, keep up a steady, even pressure, but never force the tool. Letting the tool do the work allows the bit or saw blade to cut smoothly.
50Using Tools SafelyTo stay safe when using knives, box cutters or power saws, always make sure the blade you are using is sharp. To test a tool’s sharpness never run your finger along the edge – test on a piece of scrap material instead. Dull tools are dangerous because they require greater effort and increase the chance of a slip or a kickback.
51Using Tools SafelyWhen using knives and box cutters, cut in the direction away from your body. While this may feel unnatural at first, it will prevent injuries if the blade catches or slips.
52Using Tools SafelyWhen a cutting task is completed, retract the blade on a box cutter or utility knife to help ensure that no one gets hurt while carrying the tool or retrieving it from storage.
53Using Tools SafelyBefore using such tools as saws, screwdrivers or files, secure small workpieces on a flat surface or in a vice. Never hold the material in your hand while you are working on it – if the tool slips it could cause a serious cut or puncture wound.
54Using Tools SafelyBefore drilling, always clamp smaller workpieces to prevent them from moving. An unsecured object can become a flying projectile if a drill catches or binds.
55Using Tools SafelyDo not push tools beyond their capacity. Never hammer on a wrench, for instance, or use an extension, such as a pipe, to improve leverage. Instead, select a wrench with a longer handle and use penetrating oil to help loosen stuck nuts and bolts.
56Using Tools SafelyAvoid forcing a power tool by applying excessive pressure, this can overheat the tool and reduce operator control.
57Using Tools SafelyIf at any time you experience unusual vibration, noise, sparking or other indications that a power tool is malfunctioning, stop work immediately and have the tool checked by a qualified individual.
58Using Tools SafelyTo protect yourself and coworkers from electrical shock or burns, be sure power tools have either a three-wire cord with a grounding prong, or are double insulated.
59Using Tools SafelyDouble insulated tools have an internal layer of protective insulation completely isolating the tool’s external housing. To check if a tool is double insulated, look for the Underwriters Lab seal and a “double insulation” designation.
60Using Tools SafelyTo further protect against electrical injury, always unplug tools when not in use, before servicing and cleaning, and when changing accessories. When unplugging a tool, grasp the plug instead of yanking the cord.
61Using Tools SafelyTo maintain a cord’s physical integrity, never carry an electric tool by its cord, and keep cords away from heat, oil, and sharp edges.
62Using Tools SafelyRemember that water is an excellent conductor of electricity and can create a dangerous path between you and an electric power source – for that reason, never use a power tool while standing in water.
63Using Tools SafelyWhen working with a power tool outdoors or in a damp environment, plug it into a GFCI-protected outlet. A GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, monitors imbalances in the flow of electricity – if current does not follow its intended path, the GFCI can quickly cut power before it travels through you and causes serious shock and injury.
64Using Tools SafelyBefore changing pneumatic tools or attachments, or making an adjustment, always turn off the air pressure and vent the line unless the hose has a quick disconnect coupling that makes these precautions unnecessary.
65Using Tools SafelyDo not “kink” the hose to stop airflow. When a task is completed, wait for the tool to come to a complete stop before setting it down.
66Using Tools SafelyIf not handled carefully, compressed air can be extremely dangerous. A blast of compressed air is powerful enough to drive dirt, grease or air into the body causing injury or death. For this reason, never point a compressed air gun at anyone or use compressed air to clean your clothing.
67Using Tools SafelyIf using compressed air to clean equipment, make sure the pressure is reduced to less than 30 pounds per square inch, and use a chip guard to protect against flying debris.
68Using Tools SafelyPneumatic tools should only be attached to a compressed air supply system – never to lines supplying breathing air or any type of gas as this is extremely hazardous.
69Using Tools SafelyBefore working with a pneumatic tool, check couplings and fittings and set the air pressure according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
70Using Tools SafelyHousekeeping may seem like a simple or boring task, but removing excess sawdust, grime, moisture and other debris from your tools after each use will help keep them working properly.
71Using Tools SafelyTo prevent accidents, as well as loss or damage to your tools, when you are finished with a task have a specific location to store each tool. Heavy-headed tools, such as sledgehammers, should be stored with the heavy end down.
72Using Tools SafelyStore cutting tools by covering or retracting blades, so that they can’t cause injuries to someone reaching into a toolbox or drawer.
73Using Tools SafelyTo store a pneumatic hose, begin by carefully coiling it. Avoid putting kinks in the hose by hanging it over a broad support, instead of a hook, nail, or angle iron.
74SummaryWithout hand and power tools many of the tasks we routinely perform would be much more difficult orimpossible. When we use tools everyday, however, it becomes all too easy to underestimate the hazards.
75SummaryIf you have any questions about the hand and power tools you use, ask your supervisor. We’ve come a long way since the first tools, and our awareness of how to stay safe in the workplace has also advanced.
76SummaryTo prevent accidents or injuries from slowing you down, follow safe work practices every time you pick up a hand or power tool.
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