Tools are common in many workplace settings and power tools are especially important to get the job done, however it is important to remember that electrical tools can pose significant hazards. Workers should be sure that they are familiar with the specific hazards of the tools they use including hazards such as:
- Electrical shock
- Cuts & amputations
- Eye injuries
- Trip & Fall Hazards
- Puncture Wounds
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.242(a) Each employer shall be responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees, including tools and equipment which may be furnished by employees.
Injuries with tools often happen when workers fail to use them as intended, remove guards designed for their own safety, or forget to inspect them before using. Workers should be trained on the safe handling and care of the power tools they will be using on the job and be reminded regularly to follow safe work practices every time they use their tools.
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.300(a) says that all hand and power tools and similar equipment, whether furnished by the employer or the employee, shall be maintained in a safe condition.
During any safety meetings on power tools, make sure the following points are emphasized.
- Always inspect your electrical tools and extension cords before use.
- Inspect tools for any damage such as cut or frayed cords, cracks, or signs of electrical damage.
- Ensure that tools are not covered in paint, grease, or dirt that can create a hazard or hide a serious defect.
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.302(a)(1) Electric power operated tools shall either be of the approved double-insulated type or grounded in accordance with Subpart K of this part.
- Only use electrical tools that have a proper grounding pin or designed with double insulated protection.
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.300(b)(1) When power operated tools are designed to accommodate guards, they shall be equipped with such guards when in use.
- Inspect guards and safety devices before using the tool.
- Never remove or pin back guards on circular saws or other tools.
- Always use the proper attachments, handles, and grips provided by the manufacturer!
- Dress appropriately when using electrical tools. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that can get caught in a tool’s moving parts. Be sure to tie long hair back.
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) that will provide additional protection when using electrical tools like leather gloves and safety glasses.
- When needed, secure work with a clamp or a vise to keep it from slipping when using power tools.
- Keep all tools clean and well maintained. Regular maintenance, like grinding, sharpening or blade replacements may be necessary.
- Disconnect tools from the power source when not in use and during maintenance.
- Never carry any tools by the power cord and never yank the cord to disconnect it from the power source.
- Keep cords away from heat and sharp edges.
- If any power tool, cord, guard, safety device or accessory is damaged, remove it from service immediately.
- Be sure to keep stable footing and maintain good balance while using electrical tools.
- Do not use electrical tools in wet conditions unless they are approved for that use.
If you are interested in Electrical Safety and want to learn more, ElectricalSchool.org has put together an amazing glossary of electrical terms. This comprehensive list includes definitions, related links and videos for every term and acronym you can think of related to electrical work and safety.