Tools Safety

Safety When Using Tools
Courtesy of Newsday News, November 30th, 2007

Hand Tools

a) All tools, regardless of ownership, shall be of an approved type and maintained in good condition.

b) Defective tools shall be tagged to prevent their use, or they shall be removed from the jobsite.

c) Employees shall always use the proper tool for the job performed. Makeshift and substitute tools shall only be used with proper authorisation and under supervision.

d) Hammers with metal handles, screwdrivers or knives with metal continuing through the handle, and metallic measuring tapes shall not be used on or near energised electrical circuits or equipment.

e) Tools shall not be thrown from place to place or from person to person; tools that must be raised or lowered from one elevation to another shall be placed in tool buckets or firmly attached to hand lines.

f) Tools shall never be placed unsecured on elevated places.

g) As impact tools such as chisels, punches, drift pins, etc, become mushroomed or cracked, they shall be dressed, repaired, or replaced before further use.

h) Chisels, drills, punches, ground rods, and pipes shall be held with suitable holders or tongs (not with the hands) while being struck by another employee.

i) Shims shall not be used to make a wrench fit.

j) Wrenches with sprung or damaged jaws shall not be used.

k) Pipe shall not be used to extend a wrench handle for added leverage unless the wrench was designed for such use.

l) Tools shall be used only for the purposes for which they have been approved.

m) Tools with sharp edges shall be stored and handled so that they will not cause injury or damage. They shall not be carried in pockets.

n) Wooden handles that are loose, cracked, or splintered shall be replaced. The handle shall not be taped or lashed with wire.

o) All cutting tools such as saws, wood chisels, drawknives, or axes shall be kept in suitable guards or in special compartments.

p) Tools shall not be left lying around where they may cause a person to trip or stumble.

q) When working on or above open grating, a canvas or other suitable covering shall be used to cover the grating to prevent tools or parts from dropping to a lower level where others are present, or the danger area shall be barricaded or guarded.

r) The insulation on hand tools shall not be depended upon to protect users from electric shock.

s) When using such tools as screwdrivers and wrenches, employees should avoid using their wrists in a bent (flexed), extended, or twisted position for long periods of time. Employees should maintain their wrists in a neutral (straight) position.

Portable Electric Tools

a) The noncurrent-carrying metal parts of portable electric tools such as drills, saws, and grinders shall be effectively grounded when connected to a power source unless:

1) The tool is an approved double-insulated type, or

2) The tool is connected to the power supply by means of an isolating transformer or other isolated power supply, such as a 24Vdc system.

b) All powered tools shall be examined before use to ensure general serviceability and the presence of all applicable safety devices. The electric cord and electric components shall be given an especially thorough examination.

c) Powered tools shall be used only within their capability and shall be operated in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer.

d) All tools shall be kept in good repair and shall be disconnected from the power source while repairs are being made.

e) Electrical tools shall not be used where there is a hazard of flammable vapours, gases, or dusts.

f) Tools connected to a central power supply, including portable and vehicle mounted generators (not isolated and not double-insulated), shall be protected by a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) or by an "assured grounding system."

g) Any cord and plug connected equipment supplied by other than premises wiring shall comply with one of the following:

1) Equipped with a cord containing an equipment grounding conductor connected to the tool frame.

2) Double insulated.

3) Connected to the power supply through an isolating transformer with an ungrounded secondary.

Pneumatic Tools

a) Compressed air and compressed air tools shall be used with caution.

b) Pneumatic tools shall never be pointed at another person.

c) Pneumatic power tools shall be secured to the hose or whip by some positive means to prevent the tool from becoming accidentally disconnected.

d) Safety clips or retainers shall be securely installed and maintained on pneumatic impact (percussion) tools to prevent attachments from being accidentally expelled.

e) Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except when reduced to less than 30 psi, and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment.

f) Compressed air shall not be used to blow dust or dirt from clothing.

g) The manufacturer's safe operating pressure for hoses, pipes, valves, filters, and other fittings shall not be exceeded.

h) The use of hoses for hoisting or lowering tools shall not be permitted.

I) All hoses exceeding inch inside diameter shall have a safety device at the source of supply or branch line to reduce pressure in case of hose failure or disengagement of a connection.

j) Before making adjustments or changing air tools, unless equipped with quick-change connectors, the air shall be shut off at the air supply valve ahead of the hose. The hose shall be bled at the tool before breaking the connection.

k) Eye protection, foot protection, and other protective devices shall be worn when their use could reduce the possibility of injury.

l) Pneumatic tools shall be operated only by competent persons who have been trained in their use.

m) A pneumatic tool used where it may contact exposed live electrical parts shall have a nonconductive hose and an accumulator to collect moisture.

n) Employees shall not use any part of their bodies to locate or attempt to stop an air leak.

Hydraulic Tools

a) Manufacturers' safe operating pressures for hydraulic tools, hoses, hoses, valves, pipes, filters, and fittings shall not be exceeded.

b) Pressure shall be released before connections are broken unless quick-acting, self-closing connectors are used.

c) Employees shall wear appropriate personal protective equipment and shall not use any part of their bodies to locate and attempt to stop a hydraulic leak.

d) The fluid used in hydraulic powered tools shall be fire resistant and shall retain its operating characteristics at the most extreme temperatures to which it will be exposed.

E) All hydraulic lines longer than 35 feet should have check valves or provide for loss of insulating value due to partial vacuum, when used where they may come into contact with exposed live parts.

Taken from an Energy Safety Handbook

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