Using Hand Tools Safely

Hand tools are essential in many industries; however, they can pose a safety hazard if not used correctly.

Hand tools are essential in many industries; however, they can pose a safety hazard if not used correctly. To help ensure operator safety, the following guidelines should be followed. 

  • Inspect the tool before use: Check for any damage, cracks, and defects. Do not use a tool that has been damaged or is broken. 
  • Use the correct tool for the job: Using the wrong tool can be hazardous for the operator and can damage both the tool and the workpiece. 
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): Depending on the tool and the task, PPE such as gloves, eye protection, and hearing protection may be necessary. 
  • Keep your work area clean and organised: Clutter can lead to accidents. Maintain a clear and tidy workspace. 
  • Adopt suitable posture and body mechanics: Avoid awkward postures that can cause strain or injury. Any necessary force should be applied with your whole body instead of just your hands. 
  • Choose tools with non-slip handles: Tools with non-slip handles provide a better grip, reducing the risk of slipping and potential injury. 
  • Store tools properly: Store tools in their designated place when not in use. This helps prevent damage to the tool and reduces the risk of personnel tripping or falling. 
  • Always cut away from your body: When using cutting tools cut away from your body to avoid injury such as lacerations. 
  • Pointed tools such as chisels and screwdrivers should never be carried in a worker’s pocket: Accept­able ways to carry tools include in a toolbox, pointed down in a tool belt or pocket tool pouch, or in the hand with the tip always held away from the body. 
  • Never leave tools unattended: Unattended tools can be dangerous for personnel in the vicinity. For example, leaving tools lying around on an elevated structure such as a scaffold poses a significant risk to workers below.   
  • Train workers on proper tool use: Suitable safety training should be provided to all workers who use hand tools as part of their job. 

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