Fact Sheet

Hand and Power Tools

Tools are manufactured with safety for the user in mind but they may pose hazards. Hand tools are categorized as

  1. Non-powered and include adzes, axes, crow bars, pry bars, screw drivers, wrenches.
  2. Power tools are classified by power source: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic and powder-actuated.

Hand Tools

Hazards

Hazards result from misuse and improper maintenance.

Recommendations

The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees.

The employee is responsible for proper use and maintenance of the equipment.

Employers should teach employees that sharps (saw blades, knives) and other tools be directed away from aisles and other employees working nearby.

Knives and scissors must be sharp; dull tools can be more hazardous that sharp ones.

Floors should be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent accidental slips with or around dangerous hand tools.

Only spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood to should be used around flammable substances.

Power Tools

Hazards

Power tools can be hazardous when not used properly.

Recommendations

Guards

Safety guards must never be removed when a power tool is in use.

Safety Switches

Certain hand-held power tools require either a momentary contact “on-off” control switch, a positive “on-off” control switch, or a constant pressure switch.

Electric Tools

Powered Abrasive Wheel Tools

Grinding, cutting, polishing and wire buffing wheels may throw off fragments.

Pneumatic Tools

Such tools as chippers, drills, hammers and sanders are power by compressed air. Users may get hit by one of the tool’s attachments or a fastener.

Powder-Actuated Tools

Treat powder-actuated tools as loaded guns: extremely dangerous. They must only be operated by specially trained employees.

Hydraulic Tools

Jacks

Recommendations

To avoid the hazards associated with using power tools, workers must learn to recognize the hazards associated with each type of tool used and the safety precautions necessary to prevent those hazards.

Instruct employees in the proper use of all tools. Employees should understand the risks and the safety precautions.

The trainee should use the power tool in the presence of the qualified instructor, until the instructor is satisfied that the trainee knows how to use the power tool properly.

Employees should use only tools provided by the employer; the public entity cannot ensure the safety of using tools that it does not maintain.

Employees who are exposed to falling, flying, abrasive and splashing objects; or to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapors or gases must be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment when using hand and power tools.

Employees and employers are responsible for working together to establish safe working procedures. Hazardous situations should be immediately brought to the attention of the appropriate person.

Resources

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, OSH Answers, Powered Hand Tools, Drills

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, OSH Answers, Powered Hand Tools, Planers

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, OSH Answers, Powered Hand Tools, Pneumatic Nailing and Stapling Tools

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, OSH Answers, Powered Hand Tools, Powder-Actuated Tools

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, OSH Answers, Powered Hand Tools, Routers

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, OSH Answers, Powered Hand Tools, Saws–Circular

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, OSH Answers, Powered Hand Tools, Saws–Sabre, Jig and Reciprocating

Chainsaw Safety, Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia

Hand and Power Tool Safety, University of Denver, Risk Management

Hand and Power Tool Safety, Vermont SIRI Safety Library Page

Hand and Power Tools Fact Sheet, OSHA

Hand and Power Tools, OSHA No. 3080, booklet pdf

Machine Safety: Hand/Power Tools, National Ag Safety Database

OSHA eTool—Machine Guarding

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Hand and Power Tools

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Machine Guarding

Portable Hand and Power Tools Self Inspection Checklist, NIOSH Safety Checklist Program for Schools

Safe Use of Hand Tools Fact Sheet, National Safety Council

Washington State Ergonomics Idea Bank