NSC Labor Division news Federal agencies Hazard communication Injury prevention Oil and gas Mining_Oil_Gas

Offshore safety agency issues alert on hand tool use

Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

Washington — Alarmed by a rising trend of hand and finger injuries caused by improper use of hand tools, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has issued a safety alert.

The agency describes recent incidents involving offshore workers. In one case, a worker using a handheld drill to make holes in iron for pipe supports suffered a finger laceration that required stitches. The drill bit got caught in the material of the worker’s gloves. Further analysis shows drilling procedures and hazards weren’t covered in a job hazard analysis.

Another incident involved a worker who suffered a contusion to the left thumbnail bed and a fractured thumb. The thumb of the worker’s glove got caught in the drill bit, pulling in the worker’s thumb.

BSEE wants operators and contractors to:

  • Emphasize the importance of correct hand placement and staying attentive during routine tasks.
  • Find good footing while using hand tools, maintain balance, and secure work with clamps or a vise to free both hands for safe use of power tools.
  • Anticipate the potential for a drill bit to bind, and the direction in which the drill would spin when using a hand drill.
  • Inspect tools before starting a job, using only those appropriate for the task.
  • Tag out and remove from service any damaged tools.
  • Ensure tools meet all guarding and safety standards. Never bypass guards or use tools with broken or missing guards.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)