Hand Tools: Are you using them safely?
Hand tools are generally used for manual operation; however, hand tools can be used for much more than their intended use. When this happens, injuries can occur. This can include but not be limited to abrasions, cuts, lacerations, punctures, pinches, broken bones, and even worse, amputations.
It’s important to take the proper safety measures when it comes to working with hand tools.
Some safety measures to follow include:
- Use the correct tool for the job. Never use a screwdriver for a chisel or a wrench as a hammer. Performing this type of behavior won't just damage the tool, it can lead to serious injuries.
- Do not use broken tools. If a tool is broken, it should be discarded and removed.
- Never toss tools to a co-worker. Always pass tools by the handle.
- Always keep tools clean.
- When using razor blades, cut away from your body. Replace blades as needed and don't use broken razor blades. To store blades, keep them in a tool holder that will retract the blade when not in use. Razor blades should never be left exposed.
- Follow all manufacturers' instructions when it comes to handling the tool.
- Do not use cheater bars to extend the handle on a handheld tool.
- Fit the tool for the right type of job.
- C-clamps are not rated to house material up, they are to be used as a temporary hold assist.
- Clams should not be used for a permanent fastening.
- Never pound on a tool with another tool to make it fit.
- Never use makeshift crowbars.
- Secure good balance when using hand tools.
If you're using a hand tool for a prolonged period of time, it's important to take short breaks to rest your joints and muscles. Take time to stretch your fingers, legs, arms, back, and shoulders. A good rule of thumb is a two-minute break every 30-45 minutes.
When on a job site, always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job that is being conducted. This includes:
- Eye protection
- Hard hats
- steel toe boots/shoes
Most importantly, take your time and focus on the task at hand to help reduce any potential injury.