Working with power tools

Working with power tools

In our discussion the last time, we mentioned that a power tool is any equipment that is powered by an external source, which could be electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic or powdered actuated. We will be focussing on pneumatic tools firstly. An example of a pneumatic tool is a jack hammer.

Hazards linked with using a pneumatic tool

  • Getting hit by one of the tools attachments
  • Nearby workers being struck by flying particles
  • The worker being exposed to high level noise
  • Experiencing fatigue and strains while using a jack hammer
  • Trips and falls from disconnected air hose

Prevention of injury associated with hazards from using pneumatic tools

  • Ensure to always securely fasten the air hose to the pneumatic tool
  • Ensure to always use hearing protection .e.g Ear defenders
  • Set up screens to protect nearby workers from being struck by flying particles
  • Use heavy rubber grips to reduce fatigue and strain caused by jack hammer
  • Install a safety clip so as to prevent attachments such as chisel on a chipping hammer from being ejected during operation of the tool

Let us consider a powder actuated tool. These are tools operated with the same principle as a loaded gun. Cartridges are used as source of power for powder actuated tools. They are used for fastening purposes.

Hazards associated with using Powder Actuated tool hazards

  • Ricochet of fasteners
  • Misfiring
  • Using tools on unsuitable material
  • Thorough penetration
  • Operating the tool near explosive substances

Prevention of injury associated with hazards from using Powder Actuated tools

  • Only trained worker must be allowed to use a Powder Actuated tool
  • Only appropriate powder level must be chosen to perform the work without using excessive force
  • Suitable eye , ear, and face protection must be worn while using a powder actuated tool
  • If a powder actuated tool misfires, the user must hold the tool in the operating position for at least 30 seconds before trying to fire it again
  • Never use the tool in an explosive or flammable atmosphere
  • Always inspect the tool and the barrel before using
  • Do not load the tool unless it is to be used immediately
  • Do not leave a loaded tool unattended
  • Ensure to always keep hands clear of the barrel end
  • Never point the tool at anyone
  • Avoid improper fastening that may lead to penetration, spalling, edge failure, and ricochets.

This is where we will be stopping for today, so till I come your way again, this is Goke  Akingbade (your Safety Guide) signing off.

Phone number:07081101064


Working with power tools


Hello there, this is Goke Akingbade ( your Safety Guide) brining you another interesting topic to ponder on. We will be considering power tools and the hazards associated with their use.                                 A power tool is a tool that is activated by an external power source. They are usually portable size tools.  A power tool is determined by the external source of power supply, which could be electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic or powder actuated etc.                                                                                                                   Examples of power tools are Jack hammer, drilling machine, screwing machine and cutting machine which is otherwise known as grinder.                                                                                                                       If a power tool is not in good working condition and if not maintained properly, it can become a safety hazard. Employees whose works involve the constant use of power tools are exposed to different kinds of hazards.  Let us consider different kinds of hazards that a power tool handler can be exposed to.

General Hazards

Power tool Hazards

General Hazards due to working with power tools

Whoever works with a power tool is exposed to dust and fumes generated by the power tool.

He or she can also be exposed to flying particles, falling particles and splashing particles.

If the worker fails to wear personal protective equipment while using the power tool, he would most likely sustain injury. e.g not wearing eye protection will most likely lead to entrance of flying particles or sparks into the eyes.

A worker who has not received training on how a power tool is supposed to be used and who has not been authorized to use it will sustain injury while using the power tool.                  e.g A worker who has not been authorized and not trained on how to safely use a grinder is likely to sustain hand injury while using it.

Let us take a look at the next kind of hazards, which are power tool hazards.

Hazards associated directly with electric power tools                               Electric fire hazards and electric shock can be sustained by a worker due to the following:

If the internal parts of an electrically powered tool is damaged

Improper grounding of the tool

Damage to insulation as a result of overheating of the electric power tool

Defective insulation and wiring

A damaged electric cord which overtime is removed by the worker so as to then use the power tool with no cord

Using an electric power tool in a wet environment or when there is rainfall

Reversal of the polarity in wiring

Injury prevention from General Hazards

Ensure that all power tools are kept in good working condition, properly stored and undergo maintenance on a regular basis

Never ever use a defective or damaged tool, make sure you inspect a tool for defects before using it

Always operate power tools according the manufacturer’s instructions and train workers on the safe way of using the tool

Always ensure to use the right tool for a particular job

Provide and use appropriate personal protective equipment

Injury prevention from hazards directly associated with Electric tools

Inspect tools and extension cords before using an electric power tool, the handle and body casing should be checked for cracks.                                                                                                 A defective tool ,if found should be separated from the non -defective ones and labelled ‘Out of Service’

Always use durable and weatherproof extension cords

Connect tools only to Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)

Use cords with three prong plugs

Never use electric power tools in a wet or damp area and never use during rainfall

Ensure that electric cables do not pose as tripping hazards

Use hand gloves and safety boots when handling electric power tools

Operate electric tools within the limit of their design

This is where we will be stopping for today, so till I come your way again, this is Goke Akingbade (your Safety Guide ) signing off.

Safety Awareness

Safety Awareness

Safety Awareness is like almost everything else we do . . . it is learned, not instinctive. We aren’t born with awareness for safety concerns . . . in fact anyone who has a young toddler or grandchild knows this first hand as they see them going around doing unsafe things constantly.

We learn through various means. Some learn by doing, others by watching, some by reading. Others learn by their mistakes or the mistakes of others which is one reason we talk about near misses and direct incidents and also emphasize that both be reported by staff that were involved or were eye witneses to these kinds of incidents.

So how do you know you have developed good safety awareness? Here are some good examples of behaviours that suggest you have good safety awareness:

  1. Before you begin a job, you consider how to do it more safely
  1. You ensure you know how and when to use personal protective equipment if your job task exposes you to inherent hazards.
  1. As you work , you check your position to reduce strain on your body
  1. While you are working, you become aware of any changes in the area-people coming, or going, jobs beginning or ending
  1. You start talking with others about safety

Monitor yourself today and see if you have got good safety awareness. If you don’t, one of the best ways to gain further awareness is to step back and take a hard look at your actions or a co-worker’s actions as they are performing a job. Watch for risky actions or unsafe acts.  You will learn and if you’re watching a coworker….share those observations with them to help them go home safely every day.

Till I come your way again, do have safe rest of the day


Goke Akingbade

Safety guide solutions.