Get a Grip On Tool Safety

Tools are used every day in every industry. They make small tasks easier and large tasks possible, but they’re often taken for granted. Whether they’re simple hand tools, or more complex power tools, all tools can pose a hazard in the workplace.

Most of the time, hand and power tools can be used with no problems — but serious injuries can occur when tools are not properly maintained or they are not used correctly. J. J. Keller has some ideas about for taking steps to identify and correct potential tool-related hazards in your workplace.

First, you may want to communicate to your employees the five basic safety rules for working around tools. These are:

  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 use properly the right personal protective equipment.

Next, follow these common-sense safety tips when preparing to use tools in the workplace:

  • Train employees. Make sure all employees are trained in the proper use and handling of the equipment they are required to use. Train employees to recognize hazards and to report them to supervisors.
  • Practice good hygiene. Make sure floors and work surfaces are kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent accidental slips with or around hand and power tools.
  • Use the right tool for the employee. Make sure the tool is the right size for the employee. A tool that is too big or too small for the employee can cause discomfort, improper use of the tool, and injuries.
  • Use the right tool for the space available. Make sure the tool fits the workspace. For instance, avoid using a long-handled tool in an enclosed space. A tool that is too big for the space can lead to poor posture, improper use of the tool, and injuries.

In addition to the general safety rules, consider precautions you can take to keep employees safe while using specific hand and powered tools.

Reprinted from J. J. Keller's KellerOnline , the online safety management tool used by more than 19,000 safety professionals to manage their safety processes.