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Tool Workplace Safety Program
Use of tools makes many tasks easier. However, the same tools that assist us, if improperly used or maintained, can create significant hazards in our work areas. Employees who use tools must be properly trained to use, adjust, store and maintain tools properly. This programs covers hand, electrical, pneumatic, powder driven, and hydraulic tool safety.
Tool Hazard Control
Tool General Safety Precautions
Employees who use hand and power tools and who are exposed to the hazards of falling, flying, abrasive and splashing objects, or exposed to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases must be provided with the particular personal equipment necessary to protect them from the hazard.
All hazards involved in the use of tools can be prevented by following five basic safety rules:
Hand tools are non-powered. They include anything from axes to wrenches. The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.
Appropriate personal protective equipment, e.g., safety goggles, gloves, etc., should be worn due to hazards that may be encountered while using portable power tools and hand tools.
Floors shall be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent accidental slips with or around dangerous hand tools.
Around flammable substances, sparks produced by iron and steel hand tools can be a dangerous ignition source. Where this hazard exists, spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood will provide for safety.
Power Tool Precautions
Power tools can be hazardous when improperly used. There are several types of power tools, based on the power source they use: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, and powder-actuated.
The following general precautions should be observed by power tool users:
Hazardous moving parts of a power tool need to be safeguarded. For example, belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, sprockets, spindles, drums, fly wheels, chains, or other reciprocating, rotating, or moving parts of equipment must be guarded.
Guards, as necessary, should be provided to protect the operator and others from the following:
Safety guards must never be removed when a tool is being used. For example, portable circular saws must be equipped with guards. An upper guard must cover the entire blade of the saw. A retractable lower guard must cover the teeth of the saw, except when it makes contact with the work material. The lower guard must automatically return to the covering position when the tool is withdrawn from the work.
Tool Safety Switches
The following hand-held powered tools are to be equipped with a momentary contact "on-off" control switch: drills, tappers, fastener drivers, horizontal, vertical and angle grinders with wheels larger than 2 inches in diameter, disc and belt sanders, reciprocating saws, saber saws, and other similar tools. These tools also may be equipped with a lock-on control provided that turnoff can be accomplished by a single motion of the same finger or fingers that turn it on.
The following hand-held powered tools may be equipped with only a positive "on-off" control switch: platen sanders, disc sanders with discs 2 inches or less in diameter; grinders with wheels 2 inches or less in diameter; routers, planers, laminate trimmers, nibblers, shears, scroll saws and jigsaws with blade shanks ¼-inch wide or less.
Other hand-held powered tools such as circular saws having a blade diameter greater than 2 inches, chain saws, and percussion tools without positive accessory holding means must be equipped with a constant pressure switch that will shut off the power when the pressure is released.
Tool Electrical Safety
Among the chief hazards of electric-powered tools are burns and slight shocks which can lead to injuries or even heart failure. Under certain conditions, even a small amount of current can result in severe injury and eventual death. A shock also can cause the user to fall off a ladder or other elevated work surface.
To protect the user from shock, tools must either have a three-wire cord with ground and be grounded, be double insulated, or be powered by a low-voltage isolation transformer. Three-wire cords contain two current-carrying conductors and a grounding conductor. One end of the grounding conductor connects to the tool's metal housing. The other end is grounded through a prong on the plug. Anytime an adapter is used to accommodate a two-hole receptacle, the adapter wire must be attached to a known ground. The third prong should never be removed from the plug.
Double insulation is more convenient. The user and the tools are protected in two ways: by normal insulation on the wires inside, and by a housing that cannot conduct electricity to the operator in the event of a malfunction.
Electric Power Tool General Safety Practices:
Powered Abrasive Wheel Tools
Powered abrasive grinding, cutting, polishing, and wire buffing wheels create special safety problems because they may throw off flying fragments.
Before an abrasive wheel is mounted, it should be inspected closely and sound- or ring-tested to be sure that it is free from cracks or defects. To test, wheels should be tapped gently with a light non-metallic instrument. If they sound cracked or dead, they could fly apart in operation and so must not be used. A sound and undamaged wheel will give a clear metallic tone or "ring."
To prevent the wheel from cracking, the user should be sure it fits freely on the spindle. The spindle nut must be tightened enough to hold the wheel in place, without distorting the flange. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Care must
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