Any project that uses hand tools – be it the construction of a book shelf or an entire building – stands to benefit from the proper use of tools to ensure a safe and successful completion.
Some of the most common hand tools have become so popular that it can be easy to overlook their best practice. Hammers, screwdrivers and other tools can sometimes seem so obvious that many who use them every day still do not know the best way to handle them.
While it may seem basic, making sure that one takes the time to understand how to properly use a hand tool is essential and can lead to a better end result. Not only will this help ensure better construction safety, it can lead to a higher quality end product.
Maintaining proper use
Sometimes, one of the major selling points of a tool is its versatility. However, simply because a tool can be used in a variety of ways does not mean that it can complete any task that one would like.
Consider the screwdriver. Many of these instruments have changeable tips that can accommodate the various types of screw heads one may find. This is certainly convenient, however, it should be taken the wrong way.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration noted that if a screwdriver is used in a way that is not intended – as a chisel, for example – there is a higher possibility for risk. Parts of the tip could chip and hit a user or someone else. Further, such malpractice could lead to damage to the instrument itself.
Taking proper care
Many hand tools possess sharp blades, which are essential to making precise cuts with relative ease. When handling this equipment it is vital to make sure that the floor of a work place is clean so as to avoid tripping or other possible instances that could lead to a worker losing his or her balance, especially when handling these sharp objects.
However, OSHA noted that the sharpness of a blade is not necessarily the biggest danger when it comes to handling these tools – it's the dull ones that one should look out for. This is because they can lead to dangerous cuts and more easily slip.
Understanding hazardous situations
Each task on a construction project has different requirements. Using an impact tool like a chisel or a wedge, completes a much different goal than that of a wrench or a screw driver. For this reason, there are different potential dangers that could arise from each situation.
When using one of the aforementioned impact tools, fragments from what is being chipped can potentially fly off and injure the worker or someone in the vicinity. Perhaps more dangerous could be the use of a chisel that has a mushroom head. According to OSHA, in such a situation, the head of the tool could shatter and send fragments flying.
Other situations bring with them their own possible hazards. Working with iron and steel hand tools can sometimes create sparks, which could inevitably set other, more flammable objects on fire.
Using the right equipment
Having an awareness of the potential hazards that come from working with hand tools can certainly limit the potential for injury, and also ensure a more successful completion. However, it is also important to make sure that the right safety equipment is used.
Safety goggles can limit the amount of material that flies into the eyes of the a worker, while gloves can also limit potential abrasions to one hands. The proper balance of both equipment and awareness can lead to a safer workplace and more successful job.