Tools are such a common part of our lives that it is difficult to remember that they may pose hazards. All tools are manufactured with safety in mind but tragically, a serious accident often occurs before steps are taken to search out and avoid or eliminate tool-related hazards.
In the process of removing or avoiding the hazards, workers must learn to recognize those associated with the different types of tools and the hand and power tool safety tips necessary to prevent them.

Hand Tools

Hand tools are non-powered, they include anything from axes to wrenches. The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.

Some examples:

  • Using a screwdriver as a chisel could cause the tip of the screwdriver to break and fly, hitting the user or other employees.
  • If a wooden handle on a tool such as a hammer or an axe is loose, splintered, or cracked, the head of the tool may fly off and strike the user or another worker.
  • A wrench must not be used if its jaws are sprung as it might slip.
  • Impact tools such as chisels, wedges, or drift pins are unsafe if they have mushroomed heads. The heads could shatter on impact, sending sharp fragments flying.

The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees but the employees themselves have the responsibility for properly using and maintaining tools.

Employers should caution employees that saw blades, knives, or other tools must be directed away from aisle areas and other employees working in close proximity. Knives and scissors must be sharp. Dull tools can be more hazardous than sharp ones.

Appropriate personal protective equipment, e.g. safety goggles, gloves, etc. should be worn due to hazards that may be encountered while using portable power tools and hand tools.

Safety requires that floors be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent accidental slips with or around dangerous hand tools.

Around flammable substances, sparks produced by iron and steel hand tools can be a dangerous ignition source. Where this hazard exists, spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminium, or wood will provide for safety.

Powder-Actuated Tools

Powder-actuated tools operate like a loaded gun and should be treated with the same respect and precautions. In fact, they are so dangerous that they must be operated only by specially trained employees.

Safety precautions to remember include the following:

  • These tools should not be used in an explosive or flammable atmosphere.
  • Before using the tool, the worker should inspect it to determine that it is clean, that all moving parts operate freely, and that the barrel is free from obstructions.
  • The tool should never be pointed at anybody.
  • The tool should not be loaded unless it is to be used immediately. A loaded tool should not be left unattended, especially where it would be available to unauthorized persons.
  • Hands should be kept clear of the barrel end. To prevent the tool from firing accidentally, two separate motions are required for firing: one to bring the tool into position, and another to pull the trigger. The tools must not be able to operate until they are pressed against the work surface with a force of at least 5 pounds greater than the total weight of the tool.
  • If a powder-actuated tool misfires, the employee should wait at least 30 seconds, then try firing it again. If it still will not fire, the user should wait another 30 seconds so that the faulty cartridge is less likely to explode, than carefully remove the load. The bad cartridge should be put in water.
  • Suitable eye and face protection are essential when using a powder-actuated tool.
  • The muzzle end of the tool must have a protective shield or guard centred perpendicularly on the barrel to confine any flying fragments or particles that might otherwise create a hazard when the tool is fired. The tool must be designed so that it will not fire unless it has this kind of safety device.
  • All powder-actuated tools must be designed for varying powder charges so that the user can select a powder level necessary to do the work without excessive force.
  • If the tool develops a defect during use it should be tagged and taken out of service immediately until it is properly repaired.

Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips

General safety precautions include ensuring employees who use hand and power tools and who are exposed to the hazards of falling, flying, abrasive and splashing objects, or exposed to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapours, or gases must be provided with the particular personal equipment necessary to protect them from the hazard.

All hazards involved in the use of power tools can be prevented by following five basic safety rules:

  • Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance.
  • Use the right tool for the job.
  • Examine each tool for damage before use.
  • Operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Provide and use the proper protective equipment.

Employees and employers have a responsibility to ensure competence in health and safety, and to work together to establish safe working procedures. If a hazardous situation is encountered, it should be brought to the attention of the proper individual immediately.

Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips

Tool Safety Training

What is training?

Training means helping people to learn how to do something, telling people what they should or should not do, or simply giving them information. Training isn’t just about formal ‘classroom’ courses.

The duty to provide training under PUWER (regulation 9) builds upon the general obligation under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the additional requirements on capabilities and training, under regulation 13 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Training should take place during working hours and be at no cost to the employee. If it is necessary for training to take place outside the employee’s normal working hours, this should be treated as an extension of their time at work.

Who can provide training?

All those providing training on the use of any work equipment should be sufficiently skilled and competent. The degree of skill, knowledge and competence to do so will depend on many factors, including the nature of the work equipment and the risks it poses.

Employers will need to establish what training is appropriate in each particular circumstance. However, as long as training is provided competently and to the standard necessary to ensure health and safety, there is no bar to training being given by competent in-house staff. In these cases, it is desirable that those providing the training have some skill and aptitude to undertake training, with sufficient industrial experience and knowledge of the working environment to put their instruction in context. They should also have the ability to assess the skills attained. At Kentra Training we can provide Instructor courses so your staff have the knowledge and qualifications to provide In-house instruction.

Portable power tools safety training

We have also developed a Small plant and portable tools course, which we can deliver with NPORS accreditation if required. Which is a one day course for up to 4 candidates on 5 different items of tools.

Hand held equipment

Another course that we offer is the Kentra Training – Hand held equipment course, which is also a day in duration. As a more generalised course we can have up to 6 candidates each time involved in discussing the health and safety aspects while using various hand held items of  equipment.

Hand Arm Vibration

A serious concern with many Hand and Power Tools is HAVS or Hand Arm Vibration sometimes also called Vibration white finger Training is available to highlight the dangers and the warning signs for employees as either a classroom based training course for a group of candidates or on an individual basis via our on-line training at  

If you would like to discuss any of these courses above or the options from over 100 different training options we provide, have a look at our course brochure! and then either drop us a line via the ‘Get in touch‘ page, or give us a call on 01606 832 556 our staff are waiting to help you.   Warm regards The Kentra Training Team.

Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips