When working in industries like construction or manufacturing, it’s probable that you’ll come into contact, and have to work, with a number of power tools and equipment. Working with power tools every day can make the tool feel like an extension of your arm. However, that thinking can result a lapse in concentration, which could lead to mistakes – and even to injuries.
One survey estimates that power tools cause an average of 400,000 visits to the emergency room annually. That’s one statistic that you can’t afford to be a part of. Fortunately, following a few basic safety guidelines will help you stay safe on the job:
- Always wear safety goggles while working with tools. If you work around a lot of dust at your worksite, wear a dust mask to prevent the inhalation of dust particles and other debris. Debris and dust getting into the lungs can cause severe lung illnesses. Also, if working for prolonged periods of time with loud tools, be sure to wear earplugs or protective headphones to prevent injury to the ear drums.
- Dress appropriately. No loose fitting clothing should be worn when working with or around power tools. Anything that can be caught in a power tool or spinning apparatus should be taken off or tied back. That also means no jewelry or neck ties. Long hair should also always be tied back tightly to prevent it getting snagged on anything.
- Never use power tools when tired. Being sleepy or groggy on the job will hinder concentration and make it harder to focus on the task at hand. Falling asleep near dangerous power tools can cause serious injuries to you and others working with you and in your proximity. Make sure to take frequent breaks for fresh air if you find your concentration lapsing.
- When cutting something, be sure to clamp down your work. Do not try to freehand a cut. Even the most experienced and steady workman can slip or lose concentration. That interruption of concentration can result in the loss of a limb or appendage. Clamping down the object you are cutting, however, will stop it from slipping and sliding while cutting.
In addition to preparing yourself for working with the power tools, it’s also important to upkeep the tools you will be handling.
- Continuously perform proper maintenance. Keeping up with a maintenance schedule reduces the risk of rust buildup and outdated parts damaging the tool. To keep your power tools working well, purchase new parts on a regular basis. Also remember to regularly clean the device to prevent premature damage due to worksite byproduct buildup.
- Properly mark unsafe tools. If a power tool is found to be unsafe – frayed cords, outdated parts, etc. – clearly mark it as such and store it away from other tools until it can be disposed of properly.
- Read over the instruction manual if you are unsure. If you are unfamiliar with a tool that you are charged with handling, make sure to read any instructions that come with the tool. Even if the tool seems self-explanatory, the instructions could impart some knowledge about using the tools that could help you use it more safely.
As you can see, properly caring for your tools is easy for people in all occupations. It’s as simple as wearing the proper attire, protecting your eyes and ears and taking care of your tools. By following these simple tips, anyone can care for their power tools and safely reduce the risk of injury to employees.