Trends in ... tool tethers, safety tools and knives
Follow the rules
Tape measures and hammers can be dangerous objects if dropped. That’s where tool tethers come in. And for workers who use knives to open boxes or perform other tasks, safety knives are available to help prevent potentially devastating cuts. Here, safety experts discuss what’s new in tool tethers, tools and safety knives.
Although the technology behind tethering hasn’t changed much in the past year, how tethers are used – and the tools they’re used for – is expanding rapidly, says Nicholas Voss, director of marketing for Ontario, CA-based Key-Bak Pro.
“Take, for instance, cellphones,” Voss said. “Cellphones are the most commonly carried tool in any industry.” He said solutions are available “that not only tether the device but allow it to be used as a fully functional tool for work, allowing the user to keep in contact with the team, ask for help when needed and still protect those below.”
Regarding use, Voss said workers “absolutely” make mistakes – despite having the best intentions. “The biggest problem we’ve seen is not following manufacturer labeling or instructions,” he said. “Users are busy, have deadlines and don’t take the time to read instructions.” If it seems to work, Voss said, they’ll hook up a tool, often without regard to weight or length restrictions.
Workers must use tool tethers that are labeled ANSI/ISEA 121-compliant, Voss said. “Tethers that predated the standard or did not carry an ANSI label had an alarmingly high failure rate when subjected to ANSI testing,” he said. “Bottom line, if the tether, attachment or anchor doesn’t state compliance with ANSI/ISEA 121, throw it away without delay!”
Speaking about safety knife technology, TJ Scimone, founder and CEO of San Jose, CA-based Slice Inc., noted the benefits of using ceramic blades rather than metal ones. “Ceramics don’t need a rust-prevention oil coating,” he said. “Ceramic is also much harder than metal and lasts longer. This is only true for pure zirconium oxide, though, so always check material composition.”
As always, workers need to remember to use the right tool for the job at hand. Scimone said workers often misuse safety knives by using them as screwdrivers, chisels or levers. “To prevent this, make sure every tool a worker needs is within easy reach,” he said. “Most people use tools incorrectly to avoid wasting time searching for the right tool.”
Scimone offers this final bit of advice: “Always cut away from your body, never leave a blade lying around exposed, and, of course, be fully present and aware of your surroundings whenever you’re cutting.”
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
Coming next month:
- Cold protection
- Protective clothing