There are more power tools available today that will work efficiently on the job, travel easily to job sites with portability in mind with compact designs, and handle tougher or more compact situations than ever before.
None of the benefits that power tools can offer to you are going to be worthwhile if the proper safety precautions are not followed because it could lead to serious injuries. Follow proper procedures when handling any tools and wear protective equipment to get the job completed without risking injury to yourself.
Dress for the job
Before even picking up your tool, safety begins with having the correct PPE suggested for safe power tool use. Even the most precise, trained professionals have the potential to incur injuries on the job if they are not properly protecting themselves.
There are many different options to choose from for workers to protect their hands on the job from chemicals, cuts, and more. Cut-resistant gloves are essential for protection against moving blades that could result in serious cuts to unprotected skin but continue avoiding moving parts while wearing gloves to ensure optimal safety and protection.
When workers are repeatedly exposed to vibration through regular use of tools such as grinders, drills, chain saws, etc. it can result in hand-arm vibration syndrome. This syndrome can result in weakened grip from nerve and blood vessel damage. Any glove can be turned into an anti-vibration, impact absorbing work glove with Gel Guard glove inserts—providing increased comfort while protecting against constant vibration.
It is essential to use eye protection while using power tools because small particles can be propelled much faster and further than they could with hand tools, creating the risk of injury. The eye protection needed is dependent upon the specific job. Lighted safety goggles, for example, may be a great option in situations with poor lighting and where power tools are being used, occupying workers’ hands and making them unable to hold a flashlight.
Protective eyewear should be worn under face shields, providing two forms of protection. Face shields are considered secondary forms of eye protection and will not provide enough protection alone.
What would a job site full of professionals using power tools without tons of noise? Protect your hearing while using power tools by wearing ear plugs or other ear protection. Find an option that is comfortable to wear for the entire time that the tools are in use during the day.
Be mindful of the wear tools are taking before continuing to use them because it could result in unsafe situations. Tools are going to show signs of wear and tear but giving them a bit of TLC or knowing when it is finally time to get a replacement will help to protect workers using them.
Before changing or making adjustments to drill bits and attachments, be sure that the power supply has been disconnected. Keep drill bits sharp for each use and never attempt to free a jammed drill bit by starting and stopping the drill.
Tools should never be carried by their cords or hoses, and the cord should never be yanked to disconnect it from its power source. Inspect cords for damage before each use and maintain a drilling site that is clear from cords or other clutter before operating the tool.
Tools should be regularly cleaned and lubricated when necessary. Drill air vents need to be kept clear to maintain proper ventilation.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for care so that the power tools can last their entire life expectancy. When power tools are damaged and cannot be operated, then they need to be clearly labeled and removed from circulation.
It is the supervisor’s job to complete inspections to ensure safety for their team. Supervisors must teach proper safety protocols to their employees and talk to workers who are seen working without practicing safety procedures.
Supervisors can check to ensure the correct tool is being used for the specific job. While workers are using tools, supervisors can monitor individuals to see that tools are being used properly.
The supervisor should designate the safe space to store tools in and communicate to the team to be sure that everyone will store tools in the designated location. The storage area should be monitored for any signs of theft, improper storage that could cause damage to tools, or other unsafe situations.
When I am eager to do something, I tend to just hop to it without considering what steps I should have followed to provide a better outcome, and possible a safer situation as well. I get the idea in the mind to go and do something, and I follow the rush of energy and enthusiasm so willingly that I just get it started all at once. However, I am also not the type of person who uses power tools regularly.
It is essential to have a plan and to follow safety procedures while using power tools to protect yourself, coworkers, and even the tools. Before starting your next big job, be sure you have the PPE necessary for operating any tools you will use, follow the manufacturer recommendations for using and caring for the tool, and allow supervisors to identify when situations are not safe.
Promoting safety will benefit everyone in the workplace because potential injuries or other hazards can be avoided. For additional resources on safety while using hand and power tools, read OSHA standards.