Operating power tools exposes you to many potential safety hazards. A split second is all it takes to make a mistake that could cost you a finger. It’s important to have safe working practices in place when power tools are in operation. Make sure your affiliate leaders and staff work together to establish safety practices to reduce the chance of an accident.
Follow these “10 Tips to Keep 10 Fingers” for hand safety around power tools.
- Beware of Pinch Points — Avoid placing your hands and fingers where they can get trapped or caught. If there is a chance for it to happen, sooner or later it will. Don’t take unnecessary chances.
- Expect the Unexpected — Be ready for sudden movement of tools or objects. Wrenches, bars and other hand tools can slip without warning and objects you are working on may loosen or give way unexpectedly.
- Inspect Your Tools — Always inspect your tools for damage or excessive wear and tear before you begin using them. A tool that’s not in good working condition could break if you apply force to it, leading to injury.
- Do Not Work on Moving Equipment — Working on moving equipment presents a high level of danger to your hands and fingers. Make sure your working surface is fastened securely and stabilized on level ground before beginning any work on it.
- Reinstall Guards After Maintenance — If you remove guards for machine maintenance, repairs, or any other reason, always reinstall them. Guards must be reinstalled immediately after maintenance and before resuming normal operations. More information on guards can be found at OSHA 1910.212.
- Be Mindful of Automatic-Start Equipment — Before maintenance and repairs, turn automatic equipment off at the power source. Be sure to use proper lockout procedures if there is any possibility of an automatic startup. During normal operations, always keep a safe distance from any automatic-start machinery.
- Unplug Tools Before Maintenance — Disconnect electrical equipment at the power box and unplug tools before working on them. Electrical equipment can short out and cause flash burns and electric shocks can kill you.
- Follow Lockout and Tagout Procedures —Consider locking up or tagging equipment to protect others from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment. Always follow equipment lockout and tagout procedures for defective equipment (OSHA 1910.147(e)(3)).
- Avoid Touching Hot Spots — Some equipment and lines can generate enough heat to burn you. Always assume these hot spots may be hot enough to cause injury and avoid touching them.
- Wear Your Gloves — Safety practices call for gloves for a reason. If the work being done calls for safety gloves, wear them. It will help you avoid injury.
According to the Department of Labor, almost one in four injuries on the job involves the fingers or hands, resulting in missed work days and high medical bills. But most hand injuries can be prevented by following these safe working practices. With just 10 tips, you can make sure you keep all 10 of your fingers.