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.


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