Hand & Power Tools

Hand and power tools are a common part of our everyday lives and are present in nearly every industry. However, these simple tools can be hazardous and have the potential for causing severe injuries when used or maintained improperly. The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees, but the employees have the responsibly for properly using and maintaining tools.

Hand tools can cause many types of injuries:

  • Cuts, abrasions, amputations, and punctures. If hand tools are designed to cut or move metal and wood, remember what a single slip can do to fragile human flesh
  • Repetitive motion injuries. Using the same tool in the same way all day long, day after day, can stress human muscles and ligaments. Carpal tunnel syndrome (inflammation of the neve sheath in the writs) and injuries to muscles, joints and ligaments are increasingly common if the wrong tool is used, or the right tool is used improperly. Injury from continuous vibration can also cause numbness or poor circulation in hands and arms
  • Eye injuries. Flying chips of wood or metal are common hazards, often causing needless and permanent blindness
  • Broken bones and bruises. Tools can slip, fall from heights, or even be through by carless employees, causing severe injuries. A hammer that falls from a ladder is a lethal weapon. 


  • Use the right tool for the job. Match the tool to the task.
  • Examine all tools for damage before each use. Inspect power cords. If damage is found, take the tool out of service and report the condition to your supervisor.
  • Read the tool’s instruction manual, and follow use and maintenance guidelines.
  • All power tools shall have a 3-prong grounded plug or be double-insulated. All power tools shall be UL listed.
  • Make sure all safety guards and devices are in place.
  • Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. Safety glasses and gloves should be worn while operating most power tools.  (Other PPE may also be necessary)
  • Avoid using power tools in wet or damp environments. Utilize a GFCI when necessary. Do not wear loose clothing, dangling objects or jewelry. Long hair must be restrained. Unplug tools before installing, adjusting and changing any accessory or attachment.
  • Maintain solid footing and good balance when using tools. Hold or brace the tool securely. Be aware of your surrounding environment.
  • Ensure power tool accessories are specific for the tool it’s to be used with.


  • Keep fingers away from saw blades. Clamp materials down and keep all guards in place. Do not use compressed air to clean people.
  • When performing electrical work, ensure the use of insulated, rated tools.
  • When using pneumatic tools, a safety clip or retainer must be installed to prevent the equipment or hoses from coming apart.  Never point pneumatic tools at anyone.
  • All hand grinders must be used with the guards and handles in place.
  • Impact tools, such as drift pins, wedges, and chisels, shall be kept free of mushroomed heads. The wooden handles of tools shall be kept free of splinters or cracks.
  • Before an abrasive wheel is mounted, it should be inspected closely to be sure that it is free from cracks or defects.
  • Where flammable atmospheres exist, spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood will prevent ignition sources.