Here are some facts about hand injuries and hand tools in North America:

  • Some 34,000 persons are injured annually using hammers.
  • 28,000 using standard blade screwdrivers & crescent wrenches.
  • Each year, more than 120,000 end up in the emergency room as a result of hand-tool-related injuries.

The improper use of hand tools causes many injuries everyday. Frequently, tools are not used as intended, they are used improperly or they are in poor condition. It is very important to inspect any hand tool prior to its use. Ensure the tool is not worn, broken and is in good working condition.

Hammers

  • Never use a hammer with a splintered, cracked, or loose handle
  • Don’t use hammers with rounded striking faces
  • Don’t strike a hammer face with another hammer
  • Don’t use nail hammer claws as a pry bar
  • Hammers can set off sparks.  Know your environment.

Wrenches

  • Use the correct sized wrench for the job
  • Don’t use pliers or crescent wrenches on bolt and nuts, use the proper wrench.
  • Pull on wrenches rather than pushing them
  • Never use a cheater bar on a wrench

Screwdrivers

  • When using screwdrivers, place the object on a flat surface or in a vise, don’t hold it in your hand!
  • Don’t use screwdrivers as chisels or pry bars
  • Use the correct size driver for the screw
  • Don’t use screwdrivers with chipped tips

Cutting Tools

  • Cut away from yourself.
  • Do not carry a sharp tool in your pocket or without a guard on (if applicable).
  • Use the right cutting tool for the material being cut.
  • Place the material being cut onto a flat surface with a clamp or vice.  Do not hold in your hand.

General

  • Do not use tools for jobs they are not intended to do. For example, do not use a slot screw driver as a chisel, pry bar, wedge or punch, or wrenches as hammers.
  • Do not apply excessive force or pressure on tools.
  • Do not wear bulky gloves to operate hand tools.  Wear the proper glove for the job and environment.
  • Do not throw tools. Hand them, handle first, directly to other workers.
  • Do not carry tools in a way that interferes with using both hands on a ladder, while climbing on a structure, or when doing any hazardous work. If working on a ladder or scaffold, tools should be raised and lowered using a bucket and hand line.
  • Do not use tools during electrical work unless they are designed for electrical work (e.g., properly insulated).
  • Do not leave tools lying around on elevated structures such as a platform or scaffold as they may be bumped and fall. See Dropped Objects.
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