Hand Held Tools

Keep all hand tools in good condition. Check to be sure that safety devices are in place and in proper working order. Lubricate your tools on a regular schedule. Keep them sharp and they will help you perform your job safely.
Typical hand tools include hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, hand saws, axes, hacksaws, shovels, rakes, come-a- longs, picks, sledge hammers, wheelbarrows, levels, knives, punches, chisels, pliers, etc. Each has a particular job to do and it's your responsibility to use the tool as the manufacturer designed it. Short cuts using the wrong tool will often cause an accident. A perfect example of this is using a screwdriver to pry with when the right tool is a pry bar.

When using hand tools remember to wear the proper personal protective equipment. If there is any potential for an eye injury, safety glasses are a must. Protect your hands by wearing gloves. Watch out for sharp pointed tools as well as sharp edges on saws -- both will cause a nasty cut if handled improperly. If you have any question about what to wear ask your supervisor.

After you're done with a hand tool return it to the place it belongs. This may be your own tool box or belt, or it may be back in the tool trailer or gang box. When you return it, place it properly so that the next person can pick it up without the possibility of injury. Should a tool get damaged take it out of service and tag it out until repairs are made.  If it can't be repaired, dispose of it. Defective tools are dangerous and should not be used.


  • Replace hand tools, such as chisels and punches, that develop mushroomed heads.
  • Replace hammers, axes and similar tools that have broken or fractured handles.
  • Ensure tool handles are wedged tightly in the head of all tools.
  • Ensure tool’s cutting edges are kept sharp.
  • Ensure appropriate safety glasses, face shields, etc. are used while using hand or powered tools or equipment that might produce flying materials or is subject to breakage

Hand tools make your job much easier. Care for them properly and use them wisely.


  • Have you checked your toolbox recently for damaged tools?
  • Do you always use the right tool for the job, even if the job takes only a few seconds?