If you use hand tools extensively, there’s a chance you will injure yourself with one of them during one of your jobs. Unfortunately, it is a professional hazard and accidents are possible at most any job. Nearly 8% of job related injuries are caused by hand tools. Hammers, pliers and chisels may look relatively harmless but the fact is that taking such a care-free approach to handling hand tools has cost people their fingers, limbs, eyesight and even their lives.
There are a few things that you should keep in mind when handling tools. Safety is the watchword here. Whenever you are working with hand tools, make sure you have taken all the necessary precautions regarding the tools and the job in question.
Some general safety tips are simply common sense. Whenever you are using saws and hammers, make sure to wear eye protection. Goggles are a must in any toolbox since they will make sure you walk away after a day’s work with both your eyes safely in your head.
Also, a lot of work that requires tools is straining and repetitive. To avoid injuries associated with repetitive motion make sure to use ergonomically designed tools that will place less strain on your hands and muscles and allow you to hold your wrist in an ergonomically correct position.
Hand tools should be carried sheathed or in a toolbox. Do not carry sharp tools in your pockets; a simple slip can mean a trip to the hospital in cases like these. Always make sure that you properly carry your files, screwdrivers or rasps. A tool belt can be immensely helpful as it will allow you to securely carry around more tools than you would normally be able to and will also minimize the strain on your body. If you are working from a height, make sure that each and every tool is accounted for, do not leave them unattended and dangling from walk-boards. A hammer falling from 20 feet can become a lethal weapon, potentially injuring or killing you, your coworkers, or anyone unfortunate enough to be under it.
Make sure to always select the right tool for the job. If you need to hammer something down then use a hammer, do not try to save time or make due by using a more convenient chisel or pliers. These tools are not appropriate to the job and may result in injury. Remember, chisels break easily and bits flying around are extremely dangerous to your soft tissues and eyes in particular.
When using tools in general make sure that your hands are clean and protected. Sometimes you will need to work without gloves, which is fine if the job is delicate and requires it. In those cases, be especially careful that your hands are not greasy or oily since you will have problems grasping the tool correctly and this could lead to injury or worse.
If you are using cutting tools such as saws, make sure to always cut away from your body. A plank that you are cutting can break unexpectedly and the momentum of the saw can drive it straight to your legs or torso causing serious or fatal injury. Also, make sure that all of your tools are properly cared for and maintained. Make sure that those that need to be are sharp and there are no chipped or cracked ends on the tools that might break off and injure you or someone else. Pay special attention to handles to make sure they are not chipped, splintered or damaged in any way. If they are, make sure to replace them before using that particular tool.
Make your own safety and the safety of others imperative and a primary concern when using hand tools for any job. These simple instructions will help you avoid serious injury at a workplace and are not difficult or costly to follow.