CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training
Construction workers use many hand tools, such as, hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, and tin snips, plus power tools, such as electric drills and screwguns.
If you use hand tools over and over every day, you can injure your hand, wrist, or arm. You can be injured if you must hold on tight for a long time or keep twisting the handle, for instance. You can get carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, white finger, tendonitis, and other painful problems. They can force you to quit construction work.
You can buy "safer" hand tools. Then, you can use them better.
WHEN YOU BUY A HAND TOOL
Look for a tool
that needs less force to use it.
If you get a power tool:
WHEN YOU USE A HAND TOOL
Keep the tool sharp and in good condition. This way, you can reduce the force you must use on the tool and reduce stress on your hands and wrist.
Try not to use tools with your wrist bent.
Try to rest your hands during the day. Even a perfect tool can hurt you if you must use it over and over. Lay down the tool or put it in a holster when you don't need it.
You Should Know
A good hand tool improves productivity; it helps you get your job done well.
Use a power tool when you can. A power tool can cut the wear on your hand.
Many tools in the stores are labeled "ergonomic" tools; don't be fooled. You are the one who can tell if a tool is comfortable and easy to use. Try many tools until you find one you like. Everyone has a different hand size, strength, and preferences. Keep asking the stores for better-designed tools; they respond to demand.
One tool cannot do all jobs. If you try to use a tool for a job it was not designed for, the job will be harder to do.
How you use a
tool is as important as which tool you use.
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© 2001, CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training. All rights reserved. CPWR is a research and development arm of the Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO: CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910. (Edward C. Sullivan is president of the Building and Construction Trades Dept. and of CPWR and Joseph Maloney is secretary treasurer.) Production of this card was supported by NIOSH grants CCU310982 and CCU312014. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH.