The number of casualties arising from the use of hand tools is rising exponentially? Statistics revealed that accidents resulting from the use of hand tools are 10% of occupational accidents. Many of these mishaps arose from overlooked safety precautions in the workshop.
Neglect of safety rules in the use of hand tools causes tenosynovitis. Tenosynovitis is a musculoskeletal disease resulting from prolonged use of hand tools. This disease could also come from the use of unsuitable hand tools. The reason for these injuries is because you fail to abide by safety rules in the use of your hand tools.
This article aims to convey safety information on how best you can use your hand tools. Before I let you in on the hand tool’s safety rules, it’s important to state some workplace injuries.
Injuries Resulting from the Use of Hand Tools
1. Repetitive Motion Injuries
Injuries from repeated use of hand tools are becoming rampant. Carpal tunnel syndrome (inflammation of the nerve sheath of the wrist) joints and ligaments damages are common. These injuries are due to prolonged and improper use of hand tools. Excessive use stresses the muscles and ligaments thereby causing injuries. Vibrations also cause poor circulation in the hand and arms as well as numbness.
2. Eye Injuries
Injuries to the eyes appear more dangerous than others. Flying chips of metal or wood that cause permanent and needless blindness are rampant.
3. Bruises and broken bones
These kinds of injuries result from improper mastery of safety rules. They also come from the careless use of hand tools and ignorance of safety precautions. Tools can slip and materials can fall from heights thereby cause serious damages.
4. Abrasions, cuts, punctures and amputation injuries
Mere thinking of these injuries makes one feel somehow. The best way to keep these harms away is to remember what it can do to a fragile flesh if your tool slips.
Safety Rules for the Use of Hand Tools
A. Safe Operating Procedures
1. Carry your hand tools in the appropriate toolbox or with the aid of a tool belt.
2. Keep people off the areas where you operate long hand tools. Fence the work area to keep off unauthorised access.
3. Ensure that you remove all protruding metal parts that can damage your hand tools.
4. Do your best to prevent your hand tools from slipping out of your hands. This is highly essential when you are working from a height.
5. Make sure you operate your hand tools standing in the right posture and with the correct strength. Avoid working near or on electrical conductors.
B. Hand tool Maintenance
1. Set a system in place to help examine conditions of hand tools. This is to ensure they are without defects and well-constructed. As soon as you detect anything, swing into action to repair worn-out or damaged parts. If possible, discard the entire tool.
2. Always ensure proper inspection of tools before use. This is different from periodic repair and maintenance by competent experts. Give sensitive attention to cleanliness of your tools. Restore deformed parts and sharpen blunt edges without delay.
3. Each tool has associated strength to address the material it’s designed to work on. Misuse of hand tools can cause fracture and harm to people. Use your hand tools appropriately.
4. Store your hand tools in the tool rack or box. Keep sharp tools in the safety of its sheath. Ensure you keep your hand tools in an orderly manner in the workroom.
General Safety Rules for Hand Tool Users
These are safety rules you need to master to keep injuries at bay in your workshop.
1. Master your workplace instruction manual before using any tool. Read and understand nameplate information and follow rules guiding any tool’s warning labels.
2. Wear your safety goggles or glasses with its shield at all time. Use hearing protection and dust mask during dusty operations especially for prolonged tasks.
3. You are not in the workplace to impress anyone. Tie your hair back out of the way. No neckties, jewellery, dangling objects, loose-fitting clothing and no slip footwear. Dress well with safety wears.
4. Avoid the use of your hand tools when sick, provoked, distracted and tired. Stay away from all tools whenever you are under the influence of any substance such as alcohol or drugs.
5. Free your workshop of any debris and dirt. Keep it clean and keep anything that might get in the way out. Keep away chips, sparks or hot tools that can ignite.
6. Ensure proper illumination of your work area. No shadow-free light but all bright lights.
7. Ensure you switch off power before you plug in any power tool. Turn off and unplug tools before changing accessories or making adjustments. Avoid using tools in wet or damp conditions.
8. Make sure you never use any accessory except ones recommended by the manufacturer. This is often specified in the instruction manual.
9. Avoid using any malfunctioning or damaged tool.
10. Keep to specifics. In case you need an extension cord, use only the heavy-duty cord. Avoid using indoor cord outside. If your tool has a three-pronged plug, ensure you use a three-pronged cord. And plugged into a three-pronged outlet.
11. Use only clean and sharp blades or cutters secured in their places. Avoid using broken, bent or warped cutters or blades.
12. Pay close attention to your work. Avoid distraction at all cost, focus and stay planted on your two feet. Do not overreach when you are using power tools.
13. Keep firm grip with both hand tools. Avoid losing control at all cost and keep away from using hand tools that are heavy to control.
14. Keep your hand tools clean, sharp and safe. Unplug, clean and store your tools in dry and safe stores when not in use. Avoid hand tool’s substitution. Use the right tools on the right materials.
Finally, create a system that encourages safety-consciousness in your firm’s operations. To ensure the security of lives and property, master safety rules associated with hand tools. And make sure your employees know what to do, how and when to to do.