Hand and Power Tool Safety

Hand tools are non-powered. They include anything from axes to wrenches. The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.

Appropriate personal protective equipment such as safety goggles, gloves, etc., should be worn due to hazards that may be encountered while using portable power tools and hand tools.

Around flammable substances, sparks produced by iron and steel hand tools can be a dangerous ignition source. Where this hazard exists, spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood will provide for safety.

Hand Tools vs Power Tools

There are various parameters used to show these differences between both tools but we will dwell on a few which will include: Speed, Precision, consistency, energy sources, safety, cost etc.

Precision Precision

In terms of precision, there are two things to keep in mind. While power tools will be more precise in terms of getting the same task done right repeatedly, hand tools are oftentimes more precise in their level of control. That is to say, if you want to drill the exact same hole into a piece of material over and over again, you will do best by using a drill press. However, if you need to drill a very small hole into a fragile piece of material, you might be better off using a manual hand drill.

Speed Speed

Power tools are much faster than hand tools in two ways. First, there is the benefit of being able to perform a single task faster. For example, it is much faster to cut a board with a circular saw than with a handsaw. Secondly, there is the benefit of virtually unlimited energy available at your disposal. Unlike muscles, power tools do not need nearly as much “relaxation time” allowing you to work with fewer breaks and to finish your work in fewer days. Power tools get the work done with less exertion of strength when compared to hand tools.

Length of Operation Length of Operation
Length of Operation

The fact that while one can operate power tools for prolonged periods of time, doing the same work manually with hand tools for as long can be relatively tasking.

How to Use Power Tools Safely

To prevent hazards associated with the use of power tools, OSHA recommends that workers should observe the following general precautions:

1. Never carry a tool by the cord or hose.

2. Never yank the cord or the hose to disconnect it from the receptacle.

3. Keep cords and hoses away from heat, oil, and sharp edges.

4. Disconnect tools when not using them, before servicing and cleaning them, and when changing accessories such as blades, bits, and cutters.

5. Keep all people not involved with the work at a safe distance from the work area.

6. Secure work with clamps or a vise, freeing both hands to operate the tool.

7. Avoid accidental starting. Do not hold fingers on the switch button while carrying a plugged-in tool.

8. Maintain tools with care; keep them sharp and clean for best performance.

9. Follow instructions in the user's manual for lubricating and changing accessories.

10. Be sure to keep good footing and maintain good balance when operating power tools.

11. Wear proper apparel for the task. Loose clothing, ties, or jewelry can become caught in moving parts.

12. Remove all damaged portable electric tools from use and tag them: "Do Not Use."

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