Hand Tools Training Guide
(Taken from the "Tailgate Meetings that Work : A Guide
to Effective Construction Safety Training" series)
Robin Baker, Robert
Downey, Mary Ruth Gross, Charles Reiter
Labor Occupational Health Program
(LOHP) School of Public Health,
University of California, Berkeley Ca.
tailgate/toolbox talks were developed for use under California OSHA
regulations. The complete set is available from the Labor Occupational
Health Program at UC Berkeley. For ordering information, visit the
The American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
has adapted these talks to apply to federal OSHA regulations. To contact
ACGIH, visit its web site (www.acgih.org).
Before you begin
- Does this topic
relate to the work the crew is doing? If not, choose another topic.
- Did you read
this Training Guide and fill in the blanks where the
appears? (To find the information you need, look over the Safety Walkaround
Checklist for this topic.)
- If possible,
did you bring a defective hand tool that's been removed from service
to show the crew?
everyone in the trades has been hurt by a hand tool. We expect it to happen.
We figure it will be minor. But sometimes it isnt.
Hand tools can cause serious accidents. You could even lose a finger or
eye. A hand tool, from a screwdriver to an axe, is most dangerous when
you misuse it or dont keep it in good repair.
Hand tools can also
contribute to ergonomic injuries. These are injuries to the
muscles, tendons, joints, and nerves. They include strains and sprains
in many parts of the body, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic
injuries can happen right away or develop over time.
Always choose the right tool for the job. Youre inviting trouble
if you use a tool for a job it isnt designed to do. You can damage
the tool, ruin your work, and injure yourself.
You or a crew member may want to add a personal story about hand tools.
out a few hand tool hazards you have noticed at this particular
THE CREW THESE QUESTIONS:
After each question,
give the crew time to suggest possible answers. Use the information following
each question to add points that no one mentions.
1. What safety
rules should you keep in mind when you use hand tools?
- Use the right
tool for the job. Never use a tool for a job it wasnt designed
to do. Make sure youre familiar with your tools and know how to
use them properly.
- Select tools that
fit the hand comfortably, have soft grips that don't cut into your hand,
and are not too heavy.
- Keep secure
footing and balance when you use tools. The area where youre
standing shouldnt be slippery or cluttered.
- Use tools on
a stable work surface. Hold the work with a vise or clamps if necessary.
- Use tools in
a well-lighted area.
- Avoid awkward
positions when using hand tools. Some tools are poorly designed and
force you to work with unnecessary strain on your wrists, arm, shoulder,
or back. Use tools with a better design. For example, a longer handle
can minimize reaching. Sometimes an angle between the handle and tool
can help keep your wrist straight.
- Make sure you
have enough space to work, and can keep your body at a comfortable angle
to the work. Adjust the position of the tool, or the orientation of
the work surface, to minimize bending your wrist or body, reaching,
- Keep tools where
they belong. Never leave them on a ladder, scaffold, or overhead work
space. Keep them where they wont fall on someone or trip someone
- Carry tools properly.
Use a tool belt, especially when youre on a ladder. But be
sure your tool belt isn't too heavy. It may strain your lower back and
hips. Carry only essential tools.
2. How do you
make sure your tools stay in safe condition?
- Keep tools clean.
Keep them away from water, oil, chemicals, and hot surfaces that may
- Inspect your
tools every day before you use them. Check them for sharpness, chips,
mushrooming, wear, and metal fatigue. Also make sure that
bolts, nuts, and screws are tight.
- Remove damaged
or defective tools from service. Tag them: DO NOT USE.
- If the company
owns the defective tool, turn it in after you tag it. It will be repaired
or disposed of.
On this job
site, turn in defective tools to-
- If you own the
defective tool yourself, take it to your car or truck immediately after
you tag it. Remove it from the site as soon as possible.
- Never use damaged
or defective tools until they have been properly repaired.
3. What precautions
should you take when using saw blades, knives, or other sharp tools?
- Keep blades,
knives, scissors, and other sharp tools sharp. Dull tools are more hazardous
than sharp ones.
- Let the cutting
surface do the workdont force it.
- Keep your knife
in a sheath.
- With any sharp
tool, always cut away from yourself. (Except with draw knives.)
- Stay alert.
4. Do you need
to use special tools when you work near a flammable substance?
- Yes. Its
safer to use special spark resistant tools near any highly flammable
substance (whether its a gas, vapor, or liquid).
- Ordinary iron
or steel hand tools can produce sparks when you use them. Spark resistant
tools are usually made of brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood.
or ___will not require spark resistant tools on this site.
We need them
in these jobs and locations:_________________
5. What protective
equipment might you need when you work with hand tools?
You may need:
required on the site, and where to obtain:________
- If you have to
use any of the personal protective equipment (PPE) that weve discussed,
the company is required to supply it and train you in its use.
Most of the safety measures weve talked about are required by Cal/OSHA.
We have to take these precautionsits the law. Also, Cal/OSHA
recently adopted a new ergonomics standard. On any construction job, if
there has been more than one ergonomic injury within a year to workers
doing the same task, the company must take steps to identify and correct
these hazards. We must also provide relevant training. I have a Checklist
of the Cal/OSHA regulations on hand tools. If youd like to know
more, see me after the meeting.
(Only if applicable.)
Besides the Cal/OSHA regulations, we have some additional company rules
about hand tools.
Do you have any other concerns about hand tools? Do you see any problems
on our job? (Let the steward answer first, if there is one.)
What about other jobs youve worked on? Have you had any experience
with hand tools that might help us work safer on this job?
OF THOSE WHO ATTENDED THIS SAFETY MEETING
Meetings That Work : Collection
Published in June, 1994 by: Labor Occupational Health Program, School
of Public Health, 2515 Channing Way, University of California, Berkeley,
CA 94720. Phone: (510) 642-5507.
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purposes, provided that copies are not offered for sale.
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