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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Hand Tool Safety

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Of all the equipment placed at our disposal, common hand tools, which we take for granted, are the most useful and the most often abused.

A recent review of construction injuries reveals quite a number of minor accidents involving the use of hand tools.  To counteract this trend, it would be wise to review the basic rules governing the use of hand tools.

  • Choose the right tool for the right job. 
  • Use only tools in good condition – no tools with cracked or broken handles, none without handles, none with mushroomed or broken heads.
  • Keep blades sharp; store them safely when not in use.
  • Do not use a hammer with a hardened face on a tempered steel tool such as a drill, file or bit.  Chips may fly.
    • Using two hammers and hitting heads together to remove pins, track, etc is strictly prohibited and considered a disciplinary offense.
  • Never use any tool in such a way that you will be injured by it if slips.  Figure out your movements and position your body accordingly.
  • Tools should be clean, dirty tools will affect the quality of your work and if a cut is made from a dirty tool it can easily become infected
  • Routinely inspect all personal and company tools and equipment to ensure safe operating condition.
  • Inspect and use all required safety devices and personal protective equipment.

Personal tools are also included in our company inspection procedures.  If you have to push hard on your snips so they can cut metal then it is time to get new snips.  If your screw-gun keeps setting off the GFCI then you need to get it serviced.  If your keyhole saw couldn’t cut Sheetrock with out extensive force you need to sharpen or replace it.   A dull hook-bill or utility knife is extremely dangerous.  You can tell when the blade is dull because it does not cut smoothly and rips the face paper.  It is the responsibility of each employee to maintain personal tools in safe operational condition. 

Your PPE should be inspected every day. Your hardhat should not be cracked or damaged and no extra holes should be on the shell.  Your safety glasses should be clear and dark ones used only where there is a lot of light.  You should use gloves when you are at risk of any injury to your hands. 

The purpose of inspecting personal tools and company-supplied equipment is to eliminate these combinations of factors that cause accidents and injuries:

By practicing daily inspections, we are using safe work practices and eliminating unsafe equipment. 

Your supervisor will now demonstrate proper inspection techniques for personal tools.

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