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Hand Tool Safety

  1. Hand tools are used by every shop in Facilities Management. The misuse of hand tools in industry is the cause of about seven to eight percent of all compensable injuries each year. These injuries often involve severe disabilities. The following are examples of hand tool injury and some probable causes:

    1. Loss of eye/vision - using striking tools without eye protection.

    2. Puncture wounds - using a screwdriver with a loose handle which causes the hand to slip.

    3. Severed fingers, tendons and arteries - using a dull knife requires so much force that your hand may slip down the blade.

    4. Broken bones - using the wrong hammer for the job and smashing a finger.

    5. Contusions - using a small wrench for a big job and bruising a knuckle.

  2. Basic Rules for Hand tool Safety

    1. Safety is a state of mind. Always think when using a tool:

      1. Is it in good condition?

      2. Is it sized right for the job?

      3. Is it in the proper working condition?

    2. Every tool was designed to do a certain job. Use it for its intended purpose.

    3. Keep your tools in good condition: sharp, clean, oiled, dressed and not abused.

    4. Worn tools are dangerous. For example the teeth in a pipe wrench can slip if worn smooth, an adjustable wrench will slip if its jaws are sprung and hammer heads can fly off loose handles.

    5. Tools subject to impact (chisels, star drill, punches, etc.) tend to "mushroom". Keep them dressed (sharpened) to avoid flying spalls. Use tool holders.

    6. Do not force tools beyond their capacity or use "cheaters" to increase their capacity.

    7. Secure your work in a vise whenever possible. Never hold small work in your hand when using a screwdriver.

    8. Chisels, screwdrivers or other pointed tools should never be carried in clothing pockets. Use tool belts designed for carrying tools.

    9. Hammers should have heads ground properly. Should not have broken claws or handles. Check for loose handles. Always use proper size and weight for the job.

    10. Cutting tools should be kept sharp to ensure good smooth cutting. Always use proper handles.

    11. Drill Bits should be kept sharp, not dull, chipped, rounded, or tapered.

    12. Screwdriver points should not be badly worn and handles should be in good condition. Use the proper size and type of screwdriver for the job.

    13. Wrenches, if adjustable, must work freely and adjust properly. Gripping teeth or smooth jaws should not be worn. Always use the proper size for the job.

    14. Always wear the PPE required for the job. Protect your eyes, hands, ears and other body parts. Keep clothing out of your work.


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