A well-stocked toolbox is essential for any DIY enthusiast, and having the right tools when you need them can mean success or failure of a home improvement project. Proper replacement and storage of hand tools are key components to getting the most out of these items and ensuring that they last as long as possible. In this blog post, we will discuss best practices for replacing and storing your hand tools in order to keep them in good working condition.
Best Practices For Replacing And Storing Hand Tools
To make sure tools remain in good condition, follow these guidelines when replacing and storing tools:
- Carry and store all hand and power tools properly.
- Carry all sharp-edge tools and chisels with the cutting edge down.
- Do not carry sharp tools in a pocket.
- Store all sharp-edge cutting tools with the sharp edges down.
- Grip and hold tools so that they do not slip and hit someone.
- Do not wear gloves if they are bulky and make gripping tools difficult.
- Keep other employees away from the work when using saw blades, knives, or other tools.
- Keep tools away from aisle areas and away from other employees.
- Knives and scissors must be sharp.
- Remove cracked saw blades from service.
- Replace wrenches when jaws are sprung to the point that slippage occurs.
- Replace tools with mushroomed heads, such as impact tools such as drift pins, wedges, and chisels.
- Replace all tools with splintered wooden handles.
- Do not store iron or steel hand tools that may produce sparks around flammable substances.
- Store only spark-resistant tools made of non-ferrous materials where flammable gases, highly volatile liquids, and other explosive substances are stored.
Hammers, wrenches, chisels, pliers, screwdrivers, and other hand tools are often underrated as sources of potential danger. Hand tools may look harmless, but they are the cause of many injuries. In fact, an estimated 8 percent of all workplace compensable injuries are caused by incidents associated with hand tools. These injuries can be serious, including loss of fingers or eyesight.
Types Of Injuries Caused By Hand 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 nerve sheath in the wrist) and injuries to muscles, joints, and ligaments are increasingly common if the wrong tool is used or the right tool is misused. Continuous vibration injuries can also cause numbness or poor circulation in the hands and arms.
- Eye injuries. Flying wood or metal chips are a common hazard, often causing needless and permanent blindness.
- Broken bones and bruises. Tools can slip, fall from heights, or even be thrown by careless employees, causing severe injuries. A hammer that falls from a ladder is a lethal weapon.
To avoid such injuries, remember the following safety procedures:
- Use the right tool for the job. Don’t use your wrench as a hammer. Don’t use a screwdriver as a chisel, etc. Go back to the tool house and get the right tool in the right size for the job.
- Don’t use broken or damaged tools, dull cutting, or screwdrivers with worn tips.
- Cut in a direction away from your body.
- Make sure your grip and footing are secure when using large tools.
- Carry tools securely in a tool belt or box. Don’t carry tools up ladders. Use a hoist or rope.
- Keep close track of tools when working at heights. A falling tool can kill a co-worker.
- Pass a tool to another person by the handle; never toss it to them.
- Use the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job. Follow company instructions for selecting and using safety eyewear, steel-toed shoes, gloves, hard hats, etc.
- Never carry sharp or pointed tools such as a screwdriver in your pocket.
- Select ergonomic tools for your work task when movements are repetitive and forceful.
- Be on the lookout for signs of repetitive stress. Early detection might prevent a serious injury.
- Always keep your tools in top condition. A dull blade or blunt point can lead to injury.
- Store tools properly when you stop work.
Following these precautions can help prevent injuries and provide a better workplace for everyone. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!