Agricultural Engineering Safety Lesson Plan: Hand Tool Safety


Identify and use the safety practices that should be observed when working with hand tools.


Various hand tools and common protective equipment used when working with hand tools.

Common hand tools: Tin snips, hatchets, screw drivers, hammers, pliers, anvils, wrenches, files, rasps, saws, punches, chisels, planes, hand-held boring tools, pop rivet guns.

Safety equipment: Safety glasses, safety shields, respirators, safety-toed shoes, high-top shoes, hard hats, bump caps, leather gloves, leather aprons, coveralls.


  1. Wear approved eye protection. Industrial-quality eye protection should be worn at all times. Safety glasses should have the Z87.1 logo on them to assure they are industrial quality.
  2. Wear proper clothing. This varies depending on the type of hand tool you are working with. Work clothing should not be loose, baggy, or highly flammable. To protect against burns, wear clothing such as coveralls, high-top shoes, leather aprons and leather gloves. Remove all paper from pockets and wear cuffless pants. When working with heavy metals wear hard-toed shoes with non-skid soles. Avoid wearing synthetic clothing because it has a low flashpoints which can result in severe burns. Do not wear jewelry. It can get caught in moving parts.
  3. Protect your hair, scalp, and head. Pull back long hair in a band or a cap to keep it from getting caught in tools. Be extremely careful with long hair when using a drill or drill press. When handling carpentry materials wear a hard hat or bump cap to protect your head.
  4. Watch your fingers. Take special care when hammering so that you strike the object, not your fingers.
  5. Keep your mind on your work. Avoid horseplay and loud talk. Loud talking as well as pushing, running, and scuffling while working with hand tools can cause serious accidents. Be alert and work defensively.
  6. Keep work area and tools clean. Dirty, greasy, and oily tools and floors can cause accidents. Clean and put away all unneeded tools and materials. Clean up spills and scraps from the floor and equipment. Keep paths to exits clear. If conditions are dusty, use a respirator.
  7. Use tools properly. Always use proper-sized tools and equipment for the job. Use each tool only for the job for which it was intended. Forcing a small tool to do the job of a large one may result in injury or tool damage. Never use a screw driver to see if electrical circuits are hot. Never use a machinist's hammer in place of a carpenter's hammer. Do not strike a hardened steel surface, such as an anvil, with a steel hammer because a small piece of steel may break off and injure someone. Be sure wrenches fit properly. Never use pliers in place of a wrench. Never strike wrenches with hammers. Pull on wrenches, do not push. When sawing secure the material in the saw vise.
  8. Keep cutting-edge tools sharp. Dull cutting-edge tools are dangerous as they require excessive pressure and hammering to make them cut. When cutting always cut away from the body. Before using any cutting tool, remove nails or other objects that might destroy the tool's cutting edge.
  9. Carry and store tools properly. All sharp-edge tools and chisels should be carried with the cutting edge down. Never carry sharp tools in a pocket. Store all sharp-edge cutting tools with the sharp edges down.
  10. Inspect tools before using. Avoid using damaged tools. Tools that appear to be damaged or have broken handles should be marked unsafe. Do not use them until they have been repaired.
  11. Grip tools firmly. Hold hand tools securely so that they do not slip and hit someone. Do not wear gloves--they are bulky and make gripping tools difficult.

Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service, Manhattan, Kansas.

The KSU Cooperative Extension Service provides practical, research-based information and educational programs to address critical issues facing individuals, families, farms, businesses and communities.

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