It’s easy to forget how dangerous tools can be. They’re around every worksite, in constant use. But tool safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Training is the first step in tool safety. Employees can’t be expected to know the proper operation of a tool. Train them on even basic tools, but especially power tools.
Maintain tools to ensure tool safety. Lubrication prevents overheating and seizing. Proper storage keeps tools from becoming trip hazards or falling objects. Also, you’re just asking for trouble if a broken tool remains in service.
PPE use is required for many tools to protect from flying debris, arc flash, toxic fumes and many other hazards.
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Dan Clark: Don’t run with scissors! That was the first warning we got about tool safety. But it doesn’t stop there.
Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.
Tools are a large part of the industrial and manufacturing world, but they’re a huge hazard if used in the wrong way. Follow these tips to keep workers safe around tools.
- Some tools, especially power tools, can be complex. Don’t assume workers know how to use them, whether it’s a chainsaw, a concrete cutter or a Langstrom 7” gangly wrench. Get them trained.
- Employees who receive training will also be able to take full advantage of the tool’s capabilities.
- Cut away from the body. This prevents a blade from slipping and coming into contact with the worker.
- Carry tools safely. Cover sharp edges in case it gets dropped.
- Select the right tool for the job. Using the correct tool, in the correct size, reduces risks.
- Lubrication. Many power tools need to be lubed on a regular basis because they get a lot of use. When not properly lubricated, a tool can seize up, causing damage to the tool and the employee using it.
- Store tools properly. Many tools have sharp edges or pointed endings. If they’re all jumbled together in a toolbox, a worker can get injured just trying to grab the correct tool. Try using form tool organizers to prevent needless accidents and to help employees find tools faster.
- Fix or replace damaged tools. A damaged tool is a dangerous tool. For example, a broken handle on an axe or sledgehammer could cause it to fly out of the operator’s hands. Inspect tools on a regular basis and replace as needed.
USE PPE WHEN NECESSARY:
- Some tools pose dangers that require protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses, hardhats or foot protection. A saw may cause dust to fly, so workers need safety glasses.
Make tool safety a part of every day operations. All employees should take care to use tools properly and check for wear and tear.
That is it for this episode. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com
More info on tool safety from OSHA here.
U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Mark H. Overstreet