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Safety Tips | Hand tools

Safe handling of tools

June 1, 2009

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Workers should be trained on safe procedures for working with tools. However, safe practices when carrying or storing those tools may not be thoroughly covered. Tools can pose a safety risk when they are misplaced or improperly handled by workers. The National Safety Council offers the following tips for safe handling of tools when they are not in use:

  • Workers should never carry tools up or down a ladder in a way that inhibits grip. Ideally, tools should be hoisted up and down using a bucket or strong bag, rather than being carried by the worker.
  • Tools should always be carefully handed from one employee to another – never tossed. Pointed tools should be passed either in their carrier or with the handles toward the receiver.
  • Workers carrying large tools or equipment on their shoulders should pay close attention to clearances when turning and maneuvering around the workplace.
  • Pointed tools such as chisels and screwdrivers should never be carried in a worker’s pocket. Accept­able ways to carry them include in a toolbox, pointed down in a tool belt or pocket tool pouch, or in the hand with the tip always held away from the body.
  • Tools should always be put away when not in use. Leaving tools lying around on an elevated structure such as a scaffold poses a significant risk to workers below. This risk increases in areas with heavy vibration.

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