Tips on Hand Tool Safety

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Many injuries result from improper use of hand tools. Jobs ranging from pruning, work in the shop or yard, or other farm tasks involve a variety of hand tools. Here is a list of general safety practices that should be followed. Individual tools may have specific requirements.

Before use:

  1. Select the correct tool for the job.
  2. Use tools that are comfortable in size and weight for you.
  3. Only use tools for which you have been trained.
  4. nspect tools for damaged handles, loose or broken parts, excessive wear, dull blades, etc. Repairs should be made or different tools used. Cutting tools should be sharpened if dull.
  5. If the tool has adjustments, see that it is properly adjusted for the task and your abilities. Ask your supervisor if you are not sure.
  6. Use the proper personal protective equipment for the job, such as clothing, gloves, or safety glasses – ask your supervisor before you start.

During use:

  1. Keep your mind on your work. Horseplay can lead to injury.
  2. Use tools for their intended purpose. Do not force a small tool to do the job when a larger or heavier tool is needed.
  3. Do not strike a hardened steel surface like an anvil with a steel hammer, as a small piece might fly off.
  4. Secure materials in a vise or clamp when sawing or drilling.
  5. Tell your supervisor if tools become dull during use. Sharp tools are safer than dull ones because you do not have to fight them or apply so much force.
  6. Keep blades or sharp points away from your body.
  7. Never carry sharp tools in your pocket. Don’t run with them.
  8. Report any injuries to your supervisor.

Safety Training for Employers and Supervisors of Adolescent Farmworkers

Funding provided by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, grant no. 5 U50 0H008107-02

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Publication #: U50 OH07544

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