It’s no secret that there are plenty of hazards at the construction site. With so many potential sources of injuries and fatalities, safety must always be the number one priority on the job. And safely working with hand tools and power tools doesn’t always get talked about enough. They may not be as obvious a threat as things like heavy equipment, working on a scaffold at great heights, and working around electrical wires, but they can and do cause injuries and deaths as well.
Below are some tips for safely working with hand tools and power tools at the construction site. While many of them may be basic, it never hurts to brush up on best practices where safety is concerned. And it can definitely hurt when you forget about them.
Safely Working with Hand and Power Tools
- Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
- Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry that can get caught in the moving parts of power tools.
- Inspect all power and other hand tools thoroughly before each use. Look for missing components (including safety parts), loose handles, and other signs of damage. Don’t use any tool that doesn’t appear to be in perfect working order. Remove them from circulation and tag them as damaged so nobody else will use them and so they can be repaired or replaced.
- Use the right tool for the job. Don’t try to improvise and use any hand tool for a task it’s not designed for.
- Refrain from altering tools. Don’t removed guards or other safety components or disable safety features. Don’t paint tools, as this can conceal damage. Don’t duct tape a cracked tool so you can continue using it.
- Handle tools properly. Carry them carefully and transport them in a tool belt or tool box as appropriate. Don’t toss them around and don’t leave them lying around where people can trip on them or they can be run over.
- Unplug electric power tools when they’re not in use or when making adjustments. Disconnect pneumatic tools from the air line when they’re not in use or when loading fasteners.
- Never leave hand tools sitting on scaffolding, ledges, or other elevated surfaces. Also, make sure there’s nobody below you when working with a hand tool at a height in case you drop it. Falling tools are a common struck-by hazard at construction sites.
- Maintain a safe distance from other people and materials when working with hand tools and operating power tools.
- Keep the work area clean and tidy. Tripping while using or carrying a power tool or hand tool is dangerous. Make sure electrical cords and air lines are as out of the way as possible.
- Avoid using electric power tools in wet conditions.