How to avoid getting hurt
Now, these are all worthwhile and commendable pursuits, but the latter two don’t always work out well when proper precautions aren’t observed. This coupled with the accessibility and affordability of power tools and the raise of YouTube gurus who try to condense years of vocational experience into easy-to-understand tutorials, and projects can quickly go from home to hospital.
On the grind
The danger of hand and power tools is evident in the multitude of emergency room visits they account for each year. But many of those emergency room visits are caused by misusing tools and not working safely. When used correctly and with the proper safety measures, you can significantly reduce the chance of an accident.
Handling these devices is second nature to many people. Unfortunately, that’s precisely why so many individuals tend to overlook the hazards they can pose.
These types of errors can be avoided easily by recognising potential hazards and taking precautions. The following tips should help any beginner — or, perhaps, a seasoned pro who's become a bit too comfortable — stay safe.
General safety tips for hand and power tools:
• Read the manual. I repeat, read the instruction manual.
• Buy quality tools. Many tools, including cutters and hammers, should be made of steel and should be heat-treated.
• Regularly inspect tools to make sure they are in good shape and fit for use.
• Be sure to maintain your tools by performing regular maintenance, like grinding or sharpening. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Dress for the job by avoiding loose clothing or articles that can get caught in a tool’s moving parts, like jewelry.
• Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, like eye protection.
• Use the right tool for the job. In other words, don’t try to use a spanner as a hammer.
• Make sure your feet are planted on a stable surface.
• Be aware of the people around you and make sure they stay clear of the tools you are using.
• Never carry tools up a ladder by hand. Instead, use a bucket or bag to hoist tools from the ground.
• When working at heights, never leave tools lying out in areas where they could present a hazard to others below.
• When appropriate, secure work with a clamp or vise to keep it from slipping.
• Never carry pointed tools in your pocket. Carry them in a toolbox or cart instead.
• Make sure tools are stored in a safe place.
Safety tips for electric power tools:
• Keep floors dry and clean to avoid slipping while working with or around dangerous tools.
• Keep cords from presenting a tripping hazard.
• Never carry a power tool by its cord.
• Do not use electric tools in wet conditions unless they are approved for that use.
• Use appropriate personal protective equipment.
• Always wear eye protection.
• Don’t alter your power tools.