Hand and Power Tools

Hand and power tools are a common part of our everyday lives and are found in almost every industry. These tools help us easily perform tasks that otherwise would be difficult or impossible. However, these simple tools can be hazardous and have the potential for causing severe injuries when used or maintained improperly.  There needs to be special attention towards power tool safety on the job to help reduce or even eliminate these possible injuries.

Tools that are manually powered are called hand tools. Hand tools include anything from axes to wrenches. Common hand tools include:

  • tin snips
  • hatchets
  • screw drivers
  • hammers
  • pliers
  • anvils
  • wrenches
  • files
  • rasps
  • saws
  • punches
  • chisels
  • planes
  • pop rivet guns

Recognizing Hazards

Your employer is ultimately responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment you use on a normal basis and they should never allow the use of unsafe hand and power tools. Employees should also be trained in the proper use of handling and using the tools and equipment.  They should also be able to recognize the hazards associated with the different types of tools and the safety precautions that are necessary.

The following five basic safety rules can help prevent injuries and hazards associated with the use of hand and power tools:

  1. Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance.
  2. Use the right tool for the job.
  3. Examine each tool for damage before use and do not use damaged tools.
  4. Operate tools according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
  5. Provide and properly use the right personal protective equipment.

Employees and employers should work together to establish safe working procedures. If an employee encounters a hazardous situation, it should be brought immediately to the attention of the proper individual — which is usually the supervisor— for hazard abatement.

Power Tool Safety

Power tools are very common in construction, therefore, workers are exposed to a variety of hazards.  The very tool that makes their job easy and efficient may one day be the cause of a tragic accident. It is good to be reminded of good-sense safety practices.

Despite how often they are used at construction sites, powered hand tools cause only a few hand injuries in the industry.  Let’s take a look at the numbers:  In 2013, hand injury claims amounted to only 4.5% of all injury claims accepted for the entire industry.  Not surprisingly, saws, drills, and nail guns account for most of the injuries (67%).

Here is a look at the top 10 most dangerous portable power tools, according to OR-OSHA:

  1. saws (not chainsaws)
  2. drills
  3. nail guns
  4. jackhammers
  5. hand grinders
  6. chainsaws
  7. hand tools not otherwise classified
  8. sprayers-paint
  9. hammers
  10. impact wrenches

This article gives only a brief overview of the hazards involving hand and power tools.  For more in-depth information, please check out OSHAcademy’s free online course: 810 Hand and Power Tool Safety.