Skip to main content
Workplace Safety

Keep Tools Within Reach: Avoid Major Injuries

By April 1, 2015No Comments

Any task involves thinking about what tools or materials will be needed. Next, the employee must stage the task by gathering these tools, equipment, machines and supplies to ready the work space.
Train your employees to keep the space managed so reaching for tools is unnecessary. They will avoid strains, muscle pulls and worse.

Some safety consultants suggest different rules for jobs requiring one hand or two. Use the shorter reach keep reaching down to fourteen inches.

If the reaching requirement is more than fourteen inches, move the entire body rather than leaning or stretching. If the body must move excessively, the staging needs to be reviewed.

Some typical scenarios leading to overreaching:

Stretching to High Storage Areas.

Heavy objects should be stored on the ground and not stacked above waist height. Medium weight items, around fifty pounds, should be stored at stomach and chest height for easy and less strenuous capture and carry. Only very light loads should be stored no higher than shoulder height. Step stools should be available for shorter employees.

Any additional storage above shoulder height needs access via a fork lift. Moving up or down ladders or movable stairs just adds danger to any job.

Reaching Over, Across or Around Obstacle

Shoulder strains, rotator cuff injuries and other muscle tears occur when the load or stretch exceeds the capacity of the joint or muscle structure.

Never store items in a hard to reach place. Always reach from the shortest distance or move your body to a more convenient lifting location. Keep pathways clear to any storage area.

Working from a Stage and Reaching Down to Pick a Supply

Your on the scissor lift and forgot that bucket of sheet rock compound, do you climb down or reach for it? Train your employees to climb down, lift it properly onto the stage and then remount.

Look around your facility, job site, storage area, even in the office for situations where dangerous reaching might occur. Rethink your layout to eliminate these situations and train your employees how to spot them.

Make sure everyone knows it’s alright to ask for help.