Hand and Power Tools: Safety Topics - April 2019 Week 5


The dangers of hand and power tools are evident in the 400,000 U.S. emergency room visits they account for each year.  A large majority of these emergency room visits is caused by misuse and carelessness. With proper use and effective safety programs, these incidents are significantly reduced. This week we’ll talk about some specific hand and power tools and their unique safety hazards to watch out for.

Monday, April 29

Vises and Clamps:

Bench vises and clamps are mechanical devices that secure objects being worked on from moving.  Both are substantially helpful pieces of equipment when it comes to performing work tasks, but users need to first understand some safety tips and warnings.


  • When clamping a long work piece in a vise, support the far end of the work piece by using an adjustable pipe stand, saw horse, or box.
  • Position the work piece in the vise so that the entire face of the jaw supports the work piece.
  • Do not use a vise that has worn or broken jaw inserts, cracks, or fractures in the body.
  • Do not slip a pipe over the handle of a vise to gain extra leverage.


  • Do not use a C-clamp for hoisting materials.  Instead use a certified and load rated lifting device.
  • Do not use a C-clamp as a permanent fastening device.

As a team or in your work area, discuss any other safety tips related to vises and clamps, specific to your job functions.

Tuesday, April 30


Wrenches are made in various shapes and sizes and are used for gripping, fastening, turning, tightening or loosening things like pipes, pipe fittings, and nuts and bolts.  This tool can cause hand and finger injures which can be avoided by following these safety tips:

  • Discard wrenches that are bent, cracked, chipped, or that have loose or broken handles.
  • Do not slip a pipe over a wrench handle for increased leverage as this can over-torque the tool and break it or the pipe can slip off causing impact with a solid or sharp object with force resulting in injury.
  • Do not use a shim to make the wrench fit.
  • Do not use a wrench that has broken or battered points as this will affect the wrench’s grip on the object.
  • Use box or socket wrenches on hexagon nuts and bolts as a first choice, and open end wrenches as a second choice because they slip easier.

Do you have the tools you need to do your job safely and efficiently?  If not, talk to your supervisor or team leader about getting what you need.

Wednesday, May 1

Power Tools

Power tools can be hazardous when used incorrectly.  There are several types of power tools, based on the power source they use: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, and power- actuated.

  • Rule number 1 is “respect the equipment.” Tools cannot think so you have to!
  • Always turn off and unplug a power tool before:
    • Adjusting, oiling, cleaning, or repairing.
    • Attaching accessories.
    • Changing bits, blades, or grinding wheel.
  • Stop working and turn off the power tool if you are distracted by something or someone.
  • Never look away from your work when operating a power tool.
  • Avoid disrupting someone who is using a power tool.
  • Unplug or lockout tools when not in use.
  • Unplug tools using the plug. Do not jerk the cord!

Cutting tools can be very dangerous.  If one stalls, switch off the power and unplug the tool before trying to restart it.  When using a power saw, let the saw reach full speed before cutting and support the work firmly so it won’t shift.  Remember to never use your hands to clear scraps from the work area. Additionally, keeping workshop and storage spaces clean and dry can help prevent many incidents.  Sparks can ignite scraps, sawdust, and solvents. And water can conduct electricity.  Keep hands and tools dry and use double insulated hand tools.

Do you have the tools you need to do your job safety and efficiently?  If not, talk to your supervisor or team leader about getting what you need.

What other tips about safely using power tools would you add?

Thursday, May 2

Hand Tools

Hand tools are non-powered, but they still can cause many types of injuries.  The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.  To avoid them, remember to follow these safety procedures:

  • Use the right tool for the job.
  • Don’t use broken, damaged, dull, or worn down tools.
  • Cut in a direction away from your body.
  • Secure your grip and footing when using large tools.
  • Carry tools securely in a tool belt or box.  Don’t carry tools up ladders.  Use a hoist or rope.
  • Keep close track of tools when working at heights.  A falling tool can cause injury or death.
  • Pass a tool to another person by the handle. Do not toss!
  • Use the right PPE for the job.  Follow company instructions for selecting and using safety eyewear, steel toed shoes, gloves, hard hats, etc.
  • Never carry sharp or pointed tools in your pocket.
  • Select ergonomic tools for your work task when movements are repetitive and forceful.
  • Lookout for signs of repetitive stress.  Early detection might prevent a serious injury.
  • Always keep your tools in top condition.  A dull blade or blunt point can lead to injury.
  • Store tools properly when finished.

Do you have the tools you need to do your job safety and efficiently?  If not, talk to your supervisor or team leader about getting what you need.

What hand tools in your work area are the most dangerous?

Friday, May 3


Almost every employee uses some type of tool during the day to accomplish tasks.  Whether it’s a screwdriver or jack hammer, our job is to ensure that the right tools are used for the right jobs.  This includes making sure tools are used safely and in good condition.

This week we discussed a few specific types of tools and general categories of tools which are seen and used in a manufacturing.  As this work week comes to an end, take some time to discuss the typical tools you work with daily and share the hazards associated with them. Did you discover any new hazards this week? How can you fix them or protect yourself and others?

Tags: safety topics , injury prevention , osha training basics ,

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