Although power tools are handy helpers, they’re also a significant source of injuries in the workplace – not to mention at home – capable of delivering painful, even deadly shocks, cutting off fingers, and slashing cutting, and mangling flesh and bones.
The first step in developing a safety program for power tools is to provide your worker with the right personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, they should always wear eye protection (most often safety goggles). Depending on the situation, they might also need:
* A dust mask * Gloves * A face shield * Hearing protection * Safety shoes
If employees aren’t sure about what type of PPE they need to prevent injuries, train them to read the manufacturer’s safety instructions or to check with a supervisor before using a power tool. To keep your worker safe when using power tools, make sure that they understand 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.
- Switch off tools are before you plug them in.
- Turn off and unplug tools before cleaning or changing parts.
- Use three-prong grounding extension cords with equipment that requires three-prong plugs. (Never use three-prong cords with two-prong adapters!)
- Remove damaged or malfunctioning power tools from service immediately.
- 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 gives off a burning smell * 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 such use.
Our risk management professionals would be happy to help you develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive power tool safety program for your workplace. Just give us a call.