Resource:Hand and Portable Tools - Do's and Don'ts

Using tools safely helps prevent injury to the user and to others in the area. The following list of do’s and don’ts when using tools is a guide which should be followed by all employees. Maintain and consult instruction manuals from tool manufacturers, especially for power tools. These safe working tips are not “all inclusive.” Safe use of any tool will always include the need to select the proper tool for the job, training in the safe use of the tool, and ongoing inspection and maintenance.

When using all hand and power tools, DO:

  • Use the tools only for the purpose for which they are designed and intended
  • Wear safety glasses with side shields or other equivalent eye protection
  • Use special gloves or other protective equipment when recommended
  • Select tools that fit the work piece securely (e.g., screwdriver that fits snugly in screw slot, wrenches that fit snugly around the nut, etc.)
  • Use non-sparking tools whenever a fire or explosion hazard exists

When using all hand and power tools, DO NOT:

  • Use any tool unless you are familiar with its safe operation
  • Use any tool unless your footing and balance are stable
  • Use a damaged or faulty tool
  • Alter the basic configuration of the tool or use a tool which has been altered
  • Use any handle extensions or adapters unless they are specifically designed for the tool
  • Expose tools to excessive heat
  • Use hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers or other tools in place of a pry bar or chisel
  • Engage in any kind of horseplay

When using hammers or other striking tools, DO:

  • Use a hammer with a striking face approximately 3/8” larger than the striking face of another tool to be struck such as a chisel, punch or wedge
  • Strike the work piece or other tool squarely with each blow from the hammer
  • Use a ball peen hammer to strike other metal tools

When using hammers or other striking tools, DO NOT:

  • Strike hardened steel surfaces with a hammer
  • Use hammers to strike a surface at an angle or with a glancing blow
  • Use a hammer to strike another hammer
  • Use a hammer with a loose or cracked handle
  • Use cold chisels to cut or split harder materials such as stone or concrete
  • Use chisels or other cutting, stamping or marking tools that are too short to keep your fingers well away from the surface of the tool to be struck
  • Use a bricklayers hammer to strike anything metal
  • Use a wooden mallet to strike anything metal
  • Use any tool with a mushroomed striking face

When using wrenches or other turning tools, DO:

  • Use wrenches only when you are in a braced position in case the wrench or fastener should break or slip
  • Use box or socket wrenches whenever possible in place of open-ended wrenches
  • Use only single or double square design wrenches for stubborn nuts and bolts
  • Use a properly calibrated torque wrench where the torque on a fastener has been specified or where it is important that all fasteners be uniformly tight
  • Pull, not push, on wrenches whenever possible to get them to turn