Hand tools, or tools that are manually powered, have the potential to cause many types of injuries. According to Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), they present the greatest hazard when improperly used and maintained. For instance, dull tools cause more harm and injury than when properly sharpened. Additionally, injuries often occur when tools are used for purposes other than their intended purpose.
Common injuries caused by hand tools include those to the eyes, bones, and flesh, as well as repetitive motion injuries.
It is the responsibility of employers to train all employees on proper use of tools, as well as how to inspect them for damage or flaws.
Furthermore, each employee must Stop Work if the correct tool is not available or a tool’s condition is not safe for the task.
Direct the motion of tools away from you, walkways, aisles, and other employees. Image from ihsa.ca
PLH Group — a leading, full-service power line construction, pipeline construction, and specialty contractor, serving the electric power line, pipeline, oil field electrical and industrial markets throughout North America — gives all workers throughout each of its 11 entities Stop Work authority as part of the PREVENT system. As a core concept of PLH Group’s robust safety program, PREVENT is a collection of tools designed to integrate safe work practices into every step of the task.
PLH Group trains workers on safety considerations when working with hand tools, including:
If you notice a defect or flaw to the tool’s design, immediately remove it from supply.
Especially in areas where explosive or flammable substances are present, ensure to always use spark resistant tools.
Direct the blade or motion of the tool away from you, walkways, aisles, and other employees.
Ensure wooden handles of tools are not splintered.
Do not use impact tools, such as chisels and wedges, with mushroomed heads.
Ensure tools are safely secured, especially when working at heights.
Store tools safely and properly when not in use.
Use the correct PPE for every task.
Hand tools to coworkers. Never toss tools between each other.
Ensure you have a safe grip and footing prior to putting tools into motion.
Though using hand tools is often straightforward, they still present a danger to workers if not used and maintained correctly.
Workers must be adequately trained and actively inspect and maintain tools to ensure the safety of everyone on the jobsite.