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To begin each project well prepared, improve your performance, and get the job done safely, it’s important to know the safety guidelines for working with hand tools. Even though you’ve probably been familiar with some of these tools for years, it’s the hallmark of a master to do things safely. Having said that, all hand tools are made with safety in mind, but distractions, human error or freak accidents can happen.
By the end of the article you will have basic safety guidelines for working with everyday hand tools and the ability to identify potential hazards.
Now that we’ve spoken about how hand tools can be hazardous, let’s get into the various types of hand tool safety gear you can equip yourself with. Prevent any nasty accidents by ensuring that whenever you work with hand tools, you have the appropriate safety gear and safety knowledge to go with each tool.
First things first, know your environment, make sure your workspace is clear. This minimizes the risk of objects getting in the way, falling onto the areas you’re working on and of course, clearing anything you could accidentally slip on whilst working.
Now that your workspace is clear of any probably mishaps, ensure you have the correct protection gear appropriate for the tools you will be using. To lightly touch on it, these are some of the safety gear you are likely to need when working with hand tools:
Let’s dig deeper into hand tool safety by their various categories.
Hand cutting tools range across various types of saws and axes. It might seem like an obvious point to make, but be aware of the sharpness of the tool you are dealing with in this category. Make sure you know where the sharp end of the blade is and ensure the object you’re cutting is property clamped down to reduce any risk of shifting or wiggling.
Along with the above, safety and protection gear to include here would be metal gloves, goggles to protect your eyes from any potential shards, and stout, reinforced footwear.
Garden tools are fairly similar to hand cutting tools, as they cross over with instruments such as axes and saws. However, a few notable garden tools to mention are those ever so sharp garden shears and heavy-duty loppers. In the case of garden tool safety, you are going to want to ensure whatever you’re cutting has room to fall away from you. A tiny tip here is to tie a branch you might be cutting with a lopper, to another branch in order to provide added stability. Garden shears are dangerously sharp- so be sure to use garden gloves that are reinforced and protect your feet with hard-toed work boots if you’re doing some heavy-duty cutting.
Hammers are probably one of the hand tools that are most often used, by both professionals and your average Joe just wanting to hang a picture on their wall. There are various types of hammers, each made for a specific purpose, varying in size, material, shape and accompanying weights.
Point number one, make sure you are using the correct hammer for the task at hand. Check that your hammer is firmly attached to the handle. Again, you’re going to want to keep your workspace clear of any debris and get out the safety goggles and work boots for the exercise at hand. Hammer hand tool safety also means knowing how to strike your objects. No under strikes or glancing blows. Keep it as parallel to the surface as possible.
Pry bars are also known to be called “crow bars or pinch bars”, and are used to pull things apart. Their flattened, angled ends allow you to pull objects apart. So knowing their function, it’s safe to say that one of the safety precautions to keep in mind when using pry bars is to keep a safe distance and make sure your leverage is secure before applying significant force. Safety gear to be considered:
When it comes to wrenches, let us explore some of the things that could go wrong, and how we will counter it with safety precautions. Depending on the type of work done, hazards may include the wrench slipping or the materials breaking, causing balance to be compromised.
Make sure you are using the correct wrench and wrench size for the job at hand. Often, these hand tools are used to seal or open things, so if you’re working with gas, water or electricity- those need to be switched off at the main.
Again, protect your eyes from debris with safety goggles and make sure your tools aren’t in any way compromised before you begin.
After going through various scenarios, covering safety gear and giving some tips on how best to use your hand tools, we hope you’re feeling prepared for your next job. Keeping these tips handy is important to ensure minimal mistakes occur, less risks are taken and that your safety comes first! Have you got any tips you’d like to share with us? Or perhaps a story you’d like to share? Comment below!