Ross Electric - Celebrating 40 Years of Continuous Quality in Colorado


(Safety Topic for July 5, 1999)

Either at work or at home, all of us use hand tools. Most of you probably own many tools of your own and have been using them for years. Almost every one of those hand tools can cause an injury. You use some of your tools so frequently that they are almost an extension of your hand. When you are that comfortable using a tool, you must be on guard not to forget its hazards and to be sure that you always use it correctly.

Every hand tool we use is designed to perform a specific task. A screwdriver is not a prybar or a chisel, and a wrench is not designed to be used as a hammer. The right tool will help you perform the task more efficiently and safely. A tool that has been damaged or is in poor condition will not do the job it was intended to do. Don't abuse hand tools by using them improperly, using the wrong tool for the job, or using them beyond their capacities.

Proper maintenance is important for all tools. Keeping edges sharp, replacing broken or damaged handles, cleaning tools frequently, and storing them properly will not only extend the lives of the tools, but it will make them much easier and safer to use. Don't overcrowd your toolbox; cutting tools lose their edges quickly in crowded boxes. If you find a tool that is damaged or defective, make sure that it gets repaired or replaced immediately.

Whenever you get out a tool, get out some common sense and always use them together. A sharp-edged tool should be carried with the edge held away from you. Never carry sharp or pointed tools in your pocket; a slip or fail could lead to a lot of pain. When cutting with a knife or chisel, keep the edge pointed away from you. If you have more tools to carry than you can hold comfortably in your hands, use a tool belt or pouch. When working on an upper level, use a hand line to raise or lower your tools.

Even though the tools that we're discussing are not power operated, there is still a significant potential for injury, especially to your eyes. Wear your safety glasses. One of the biggest injury categories is cuts, lacerations, and burns. Many of the cuts and lacerations in this category are caused by hand tools. Every time you use a hand tool incorrectly you take a chance on being injured. Choose the right tool for the job and use it properly and safely.

SAFETY REMINDER The 'Assured Equipment Grounding Conductor Program' color code for July, August, and September is red. If you use this program, test and color code all electrical cords and power tools.


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