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Hand and Power Tool Safety Checklists

Real-time access to hand and power tool inspection reports that help proactively mitigate damage risks

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What are Hand and Power Tools?

Hand and power tools make work easier and more efficient. However, there are a number of hazards involved in using these tools that can cause significant injuries. A few include amputations, lacerations, puncture wounds, eye injuries, electrocutions, and many other physical impairments. In the US, nail guns alone account for an estimated 25,000 emergency room injuries among workers.

This article features the following:

  • 5 basic rules of hand and power tool safety;
  • 13 safety precautions you can follow when using hand and power tools;
  • effective hand and power checklist tool you can use to efficiently perform inspections; and
  • free, ready-to-use templates you can customize and use.

5 Basic Rules of Hand and Power Tool Safety

Hand and power tool usage is inevitable in a handful of industries, including construction, manufacturing, industrial, and more. It is used to simplify work and improve the efficiency of the workers. Here are the five basic safety rules to prevent hazards associated with the use of hand and power tools according to OSHA:

  • Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance
    Regular maintenance is important to keep the equipment reliable and safe to use. Inspection of tools should be done regularly to lower the risk of injuries due to malfunctioning equipment and to prevent unexpected downtimes which negatively impact operational efficiency.
  • Use the right tool for the job
    Hand and power tools are made differently depending on its function. Choosing the tool appropriate for the job is necessary to avoid incidents and injuries. For example, a chisel is made for carving or cutting materials such as wood, stone, or metal, and using it any other way is not efficient or ideal and can lead to injury. If you will use a chisel as a replacement screwdriver, the tip may break and fly off, which might hit an employee and cause minor injury or even blindness.
  • Examine each tool for damage before use and do not use damaged tools
    Checking and inspecting of hand and power tools before commencing work is crucial to determine defective or damaged equipment. Failing to check for damages can be onerous for both the business and its employees. Damaged equipment can also cause severe injuries such as cuts, punctures, blindness, electrical shock, or skin infection due to scrapes and abrasions.
    One of the employers’ responsibilities is to communicate and train employees to not use damaged tools. Equipment should help employees easily perform their tasks and not put them in danger. Damaged tools can be hazardous and have the potential to put your business at risk.
  • Operate tools according to the manufacturers’ instructions
    Equipment manuals help guide employees on how to handle and operate tools as intended. Employees should read and comply with manufacturers’ guides to avoid mishandling of tools that lead to otherwise avoidable accidents.
  • Provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
    PPE helps in ensuring employee safety by reducing the overall physical hazards caused by power tools. All employees are expected to wear appropriate PPE when working around flammable gases, volatile liquids, or other explosive materials to avoid physical contact with combustible materials which can cause burns, blindness, or respiratory and skin diseases.

13 Safety Precautions to Follow When Using Hand and Power Tools

A regular inspection ensures that all tools and equipment are in good working condition. Employees must undergo training to gain adequate knowledge on handling these tools so they are used solely for their specific function. Protective equipment can also serve as additional defense against tool hazards. Below are safety precautions to follow when using hand and power tools:

  1. Do not operate power tools unless you have proper training.
  2. Work in a spacious area and be aware of the people around you.
  3. When working at heights, use a bucket or bag to hoist tools from the ground.
  4. Use a toolbox when carrying pointed tools. Do not put them in your pocket.
  5. Report damaged tools immediately.
  6. Carry power tools carefully and not by their cables.
  7. Check weather conditions when working with electric tools outside.
  8. Do not play with hand and power tools.
  9. Compressed air guns should not be pointed at yourself or another person.
  10. Clean your working area and tools before leaving the workplace.
  11. When using a power tool, do not leave it unattended.
  12. Electric power tools must be double-insulated or properly grounded.
  13. Electric tools or equipment should be repaired only by qualified persons.

Effective Hand and Power Checklist Tool

iAuditor by SafetyCulture, is a world-class mobile checklist maker app that lets you conduct hand and power tool inspections efficiently and effectively. With iAuditor you can do the following:

  • Capture defects of hand and power tools on your mobile devices
  • Spot and track red flags and assign appropriate corrective measures
  • Share your audits to your managers or safety officials in real-time
  • Sign off with digital signatures to validate inspection reports

We have a collection of hand tools checklist sample templates that can be customized to suit your workplace needs. Get started by downloading them for free.


Sare Hawes

SafetyCulture staff writer