If you’re a DIY-enthusiast, handyman or start-up builder, hand and power tools probably form quite a familiar part of your home life. As a result, sometimes it’s easy to forget that these tools can be dangerous. You’re most likely thinking that you know exactly how to handle your tools. But, do you know how to handle them safely? Take a few moments to find out.
- Keep your tools in tip top condition: Before use, inspect your tools for distortion, cracks, chips or wear. Tighten the joints of any moving parts – if your hammer has a loose handle, the head may fly off when put to use, injuring you. Also, keep all jaw teeth, cutters and blades sharp. Blunt blades may cause you to slip and hurt yourself.
- Use tools correctly: If you know what the tool should be used for, but you’re unsure how to use it, follow the manufacturer’s instructions or ask for advice at your local hardware store.
- Be comfortable and steady: Position your body so that you’re nicely balanced and stable when using your tools. Also, ensure your tools’ handles sit securely in your hand, especially if you’re going to be using them for extended periods of time. See tools">A guide for selecting ergonomic tools.
- Keep your tools clean: Greasy handles may cause you to slip and hurt yourself, so make sure they’re dirt-free. If your tools have collected dust, use the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner to blow away the dirt that has accumulated in grooves and crevices. When cleaning your power tools, disconnect them from the power source first, and steer clear of water. Use a small, stiff paintbrush to rid them of stubborn dirt, and a dry cloth to wipe them down. If any exposed metal parts have rusted, remove the rust by rubbing the tool with steel wool. Finally, store your tools in a cool and dry place to keep them spick-and-span for longer.
- Use the right tools for the job: If you use a screwdriver as a chisel for example, the screwdriver’s tip may break off and strike you. Alternatively, the material you’re working on may become damaged beyond repair.
- Dress for safety: When using power tools, wear gloves to protect your hands from cuts and burns, safety glasses if there’s a danger of flying particles, earplugs to protect your ears from loud noise, and a mask to protect your lungs if your predict plenty of airborne sawdust.
- Prevent shocks: Ensure your tools are well-insulated and that their cords are nowhere near heat sources, chemicals, sharp objects and wet areas.
- Keep in mind: Always cut away from yourself. Carry tools with their sharp edges pointing downwards and away from you. Make sure power tools are switched off before plugging them into a power source. And never modify your tools to improve their leverage or the force they exert.
Written by Daniella Favis for Builders Space. Sources: Home-Dzine, Oklahoma State University and Reliable Plant.