Power tools are handy helpers — and a significant source of injuries in the workplace that can deliver paralyzing, even deadly shocks, cut off fingers, and slash, cut, and mangle flesh and bones. When employees use power tools they have to think about safe work procedures, as well as such personal protective equipment (PPE) as a dust mask, gloves, a face shield, safety shoes, and hearing protection. If they’re not sure which type of PPE they need, have them read the manufacturer’s safety instructions or check with a supervisor before using a power tool.
To keep safe when using power tools on the job (or at home, ) train employees in these essential do’s and don’ts:
- Use the right tool for the job.
- Inspect tools before each use.
- Make sure there are guards around points of operation and on/off switches.
- Be sure that tools are switched off before you plug them in.
- Turn off and unplug tools before cleaning or changing parts.
- Use three-prong grounding extension cords with equipment requiring three-prong plugs. Don’t use three-prong cords with two-prong adapters!
- Put a power tool down until it has completely stopped running.
- Use cords to raise or lower equipment.
- Fasten cords with staples, nails, or other fasteners that could damage cord insulation.
- Plug or unplug equipment with wet or sweaty hands.
- Use any tool that has a damaged casing, cord, or plug.
- Continue to operate a power tool that sparks, smokes, gives a shock, or smells like it’s burning.
- Get clothes or body parts near the point of operation.
- Use electric power tools in wet areas unless the tools have been specially approved for.