Handy tool tips

Paul V. Arnold, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

In honor of May’s designation as National Hand Tool Safety Month, Reliable Plant magazine provides the following 30 safety tips created by the Hand Tools Institute. The institute, founded in 1935, is a trade association of North American manufacturers of non-powered hand tools and tool boxes. HTI annually compiles its top-30 list as a way to educate consumers on the safe and proper use of hand tools. While many of these tips are common sense, examine how many of them you and your maintenance crew follow.


Between 7 and 8 percent of all compensable injuries in industry each year are caused by hand tool misuse. These injuries are often severe (puncture wounds; severed fingers, tendons and arteries; broken bones; contusions; and loss of eye/vision). Post and promote this list of tips as a way to establish plant standards for safe tool usage.


1) Use each tool only for the job it was designed to do.


2) Discard damaged or abused tools promptly.


3) Buy several versions or sizes of the same tool.


4) Inspect for distortion, cracks, chips, wear or mushrooming.


5) Keep all tools clean and in working order.


6) Be sure handles are fixed firmly to a tool’s working end.


7) Be sure that the tools and the work mate properly to avoid slippage.


8) Handles are made for the tool; never use extensions.


9) Confine impact forces to striking and struck tools.


10) Hold work in a clamp or vise, not in your hand.


11) Start off slowly when engaging the tool and the work.


12) Shut current off before using a tool near electricity.


13) Make sure the handle sits securely in your hand.


14) Keep moving parts lightly lubed; avoid lubrication leakage.


15) Wear approved safety goggles when using hand tools.


16) Keep hands away from sharp edges.


17) Pull, don’t push, a wrench handle for more leverage.


18) Position your body securely while working with the tool.


19) Keep jaw teeth, cutters and blades sharp for better results.


20) Keep the moving parts of a tool properly cleaned and tightened.


21) Use steady pressure on jaws and cutters; don’t rock the tool.


22) Support long, overhanging work in a vise at the far end.


23) Use pads in the jaws to protect soft or crushable work.


24) Use a tool close to the vise or clamp.


25) Hold work in a clamp or vise with sufficient pressure.


26) Keep clamped assemblies away from vibration and bumping.


27) Discard a tool instead of repairing it by welding or brazing.


28) Keep tools from excessive heat.


29) For continuous work, use comfort grips or gloves.


30) Follow instructions on the tool and/or package.


To learn more, visit www.hti.org or call 914-332-0040.