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Construction Insurance Bulletin


By June 1, 2012No Comments

Although employees in many workplaces use hand tools every day, they might not consider these items dangerous. Accidents happen every day, and hand tools are often involved. Screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, saws, punches, planes, pliers and chisels are just a few of the tools commonly involved in accidents.

Improper maintenance and misuse are usually the biggest hazards associated with hand tools. Selecting the right tool for the job and using it carefully is the responsibility of the worker. These two simple tasks are the start of proper hand tool safety.

If a worker chooses the wrong tool for the job, an accident will be the likely result. It is important to inspect the item carefully before starting a job. Look for defects. If there are any, the item should be replaced or repaired before starting the job. The tool’s handle should fit tightly into the head. This is especially important with axes and hammers. If the handle is cracked or splintered, it should never be used. Items that have power cords should be inspected carefully. Cords can become frayed or loose over time. If there are exposed wires, the cord should be replaced before the tool is used again. To protect hand tools from unnecessary damage, return them to safe storage places after use.

When choosing hand tools, look for ones that are designed to keep the wrist perfectly straight. To use a cutting tool correctly, hold the handle firmly using the palm of the hand. Always cut away from the body. Cutting toward the body could result in a serious injury or even death. Never push on pliers or wrenches. It is important to pull on them instead. Avoid putting sharp objects in a pocket or tool belt. They should be carried carefully with the sharp edges facing away from the carrier’s body. Sharp tools should also be kept away from walkways or other areas where they could injure people passing by. It is important to consider the safety of people passing by and other workers.

Never toss tools to another worker. All items should be handed from one person to another. Many passersby and workers are injured every year by tools that were tossed carelessly. When working on a scaffold or ladder, obtain tools by raising or lowering them in a bucket attached to a hand line. Tools should never be carried in ways that may interfere with a worker using both hands to climb a ladder or other structure. It is also important to ensure proper safety equipment is used.

All workers should wear the correct protective equipment for the job. For example, ear plugs can protect hearing while using a noisy saw. Shatter-proof safety glasses should always be used to keep flying debris or broken tools from injuring the eyes. If gloves are necessary for a specific job, make sure they fit properly. Wearing gloves that are too small can make the hands go numb and restrict movement. If gloves are too large, they can get caught in machinery and become more dangerous than helpful. Tool handlers should always consider the safety of themselves and others. Employers should encourage workers to ask questions about tools and their uses. Knowledge is a good way to prevent accidents with tools.