As we look back on injury experiences one frighteningthought comes clearly in focus: Hand and power tools cause thousands ofinjuries every year. Everyone uses hand and power tools at work, and at home,but even the simple screwdriver causes over a hundred deaths each year. It’sdifficult to get excited about hand and power tools, but the injury rate tellsus that safety is extremely important when using this equipment. This programcannot possibly cover all hand and power tools, and all the safety rulesassociated with using these items, but the point we want to stress right upfront is safety must be exercised every time anyone uses hand and power tools.Safety awareness is of vital importance.
So let’s begin the program with some basics. A good safetyattitude is the first step in injury prevention. If you’re aware of thepotential hazards and then do something about these hazards to protect yourselfand others then you have a good safety attitude. Safety behavior is a term usedquite frequently, but all it means is a person exercises good judgment, followssafety rules, and doesn’t take short cuts to get the job done. Safety behaviorreflects your safety attitude, and it certainly doesn’t take any more time,effort, or anything else on your part to be a truly safe employee. It doesrequire you to use good judgment and follow the safety rules established byyour organization.
Hand and Power Tool Safety Rules
Okay, the first rule for hand and power tool safety is touse equipment that is in good, safe, serviceable condition. Regardless of whoprovides the tools and equipment, either you or your employer, all tools andequipment must be in good serviceable condition. Defective equipment must betaken out of service, and not used until it is repaired or replaced.
Okay, let’s take a few seconds to talk aboutknuckle-skinners, also known as wrenches. Most wrench accidents are caused bythe wrench slipping off the bolt or nut you’re trying to turn. Knuckles andfingers bang into surfaces causing minor injuries.
- When you’re turning something with a wrench be prepared forthe wrench to slip so the injury can be prevented. If you’re prepared you’llprevent the injury.
- When using long-handled wrenches position your feet and bodyin such a manner so that if the wrench slips you won’t take a fall.
- Another safety tip is to make sure the wrench opening fitssnugly on the nut or bolt. A loose fit damages the tool, and it certainlyincreases the injury potential.
- Never try to use metric wrenches on inch fasteners or viceversa. Use the proper tool for the job.
One of the worst safety violations is to use a cheater bar.A cheater bar is something like a pipe placed on the wrench or tool to give youmore leverage. Your wrench or tool is designed only for hand pressure, and whenyou add a cheater bar your exceeding the safety design of the tool. Just say“No” to cheater bars.
Certainly there are times when you need to loosen a frozennut or bolt, and hand pressure won’t do it. That’s when you need to use aheavy-duty striking tool, and some penetrating oil. The striking tool isdesigned to be hit with a hammer and will do the job so you don’t have to use acheater bar, or other hazardous operation to free that frozen bolt or nut.
Types of Sockets and Wrenches
There are basically three types of socket wrenches andsockets:
- Hand sockets
- Power sockets
- Impact sockets.
Never mix the different types. In other words, don’t use ahand socket on an impact wrench. Each type is designed for a specific wrench,and when you use the wrong socket you can easily damage the wrench or socket. Ifyou’re using an impact wrench use only impact sockets designed for the job.
Adjustable wrenches are very versatile and they’re used fora variety of jobs. One of the major causes of injury with adjustable wrenchesis using damaged wrenches. When the adjustable threads become worn or thesurface on the inside of the jaw becomes rounded from use the tool is unsafe touse. Replace this damaged tool with one in serviceable condition.