Having a power tool safety checklist in any field where power tools are used is of utmost importance. Power tools, and the work done with them, is dangerous. Whether you are into construction, electrical work, engineering, demolition, or any other work that requires the use of power tools, you should be keenly aware of how to use power tools safely. If you are an employee using the tools, you should be aware of how to operate power tools safely for your own personal safety. If you are an employer, you should know how to operate them safely so that you may train your employees. As an employer, you are responsible to a large to degree for your workers’ safety. If you do not heed this responsibility, and somebody gets hurt, you could receive disciplinary action, up to and including termination (depending on the workplace).
A power tool safety checklist is a fantastic way of ensuring the safety of yourself, your coworkers, and your employees. It may not be the only thing you need to do, but a well developed power safety checklist will prevent many potential accidents from happening in the first place. The perfect checklist will encompass everything you need to know before operating power tools. However, some of the items on the checklist will be action items that may take time, like inspecting all of the power tools for proper functionality. The checklist alone is not going to prevent all power tool safety hazards!
Prepare A Safety Checklist For Workers Using Power Tools
Nevertheless, preparing a power tool safety checklist for your workers is a critical first step. You may need to review and revise your checklist, and you should spend a good amount of time developing it. Your checklist should include power tool safety awareness for preparation, operation, and storage of power tools. Also, it should include preparation for the employees themselves. Basically, any interaction with power tools should be considered from before the moment they are picked up to the moment they are put away.
How do you go about preparing a safety checklist for workers using power tools? Start at the beginning. Create a checklist of all of the power tools you will use (or might possibly use) at your work site.
- Power Tools Checklist
- Cordless Power Tools: Impact Drivers, Nailers, Rotary Tools, Staplers
- Sanders: Belt Sanders, Disc Sanders, Combination Sanders, Random-Orbit, Sheet Sanders
- Saws: Band Saws, Table Saws, Circular Saws, Scroll Saws, Jig Saws, Reciprocating Saws, Miter Saws
- Air Compressors
- Drills: Core Drills, Hammer Drills, Pistol-Grip Drills, Right Angle Drills, Screw Guns
- Welding Tools: Migs, Arc Welding, Spot Welding, Torches, Grinders
- Drill Press
Did we get them all? Probably not! This is not a comprehensive list of all of the power tools you may use at the work site, it is merely an appetizer for you, so to speak. You may use this power tool safety checklist as a guide to refresh your memory on all of the different tools that may be used at your work site.
Once you have developed a comprehensive list of all of the power tools used at your work site, it is time to think about how to operate each one individually and safely.
Power Tool Safety, Best Practices For Using A Power Tool Safely
When it comes to operating a power tool safely, how is it done? Assuming you are trained on how to operate a power tool (and if you are not, you should get yourself trained), there are a couple things you want to keep in mind while operating a power tool.
First and foremost, make sure that all safety guards are functioning properly. If a circular saw has a safety guard, make sure it is operating! Make sure you are dressed for the work. Do you need a hard hat? Are you wearing steel toed boots? Are you wearing thick gloves? It is just as important to follow best practices for preparing to use a power tool as it is to follow best practices for actually operating one! Right before you begin to use a power tool, check your surrounding environment. Is there anything that could roll, fall, or otherwise disrupt your work? Is there any clutter? Power tool workplaces should be as clean and free of debris and random objects as possible. Extra mess creates chaos, and when operating a power tool you should be in complete control. The most important thing to be aware of right before you begin operating a power tool is whether or not other people are nearby. Are there other people close enough to pose a power tool safety risk for you? Are you a safety risk for them? If you do not have proper clearance in terms of space for other people, then there is a problem. One of you shouldn’t be there! Either you need to move, or they do. It might be a little uncomfortable to ask a coworker to move, but it is in the interest of everyone’s safety. It is probably safer for them to move, unless they are also operating a power tool, in which case it is probably best for whomever has the more compact power tool to relocate their work space.
Finally, when it comes to actually operating the power tool, pay attention! Many power tool accidents arise when someone’s attention is distracted, whether by another person, their surrounding environment, or their own personal thoughts. Hopefully, you have already eliminated people and the environment as potential distractions, so the only thing left is your own focus. While working with power tools, pay close attention to the work you are doing, whenever you are not using the power tool, make sure it is turned off, and turn it back on when you are ready to use it again. Even if the time between uses is only one minute, you should turn off your power tools, so that you are always in complete control of them, and they are only doing their job when you are actively using them.
Following this power tool safety advice should ensure the best practices to operate power tools in general. Bottom line is you must always be aware and paying attention to your environment when the tool is off, and paying attention to the tool itself when it is on. Pay attention!
Our Power Tool Safety Checklist For Employees
- Employee Power Tool Safety Checklist
- Am I trained and authorized to operate this tool?
- Do I have the appropriate power tool safety gear? Gloves, boots, hard hat, harness?
- Is this the best power tool (ie saw, drill) for the job?
- Is this tool in good repair? Does it work properly?
- Is the power cord torn? Are the batteries charged?
- Is the cord untangled? Does it run through any area where people might be walking?
- Is the outlet my power tool plugged into in good repair?
- Is the blade sharp?
- Is the power tool clean?
- Is there clutter nearby my power tool work space?
- Is my work space dry? Power and water do not mix!
- If an accident occurs, will someone be able to hear me yell for help?
- Is there a phone nearby to call for emergency medical care?
- Are there unauthorized personnel in the immediate area?
- Checking the power tool: when I turn it on, does it sound normal?
- Does it sound normal during actual operation?
- Am I prepared to store the power tool once I am finished operating it?
This checklist encompasses pretty much everything a employee would need to consider before, during, and after operating a power tool. A specific tool may require different considerations, so this is simply a guideline for you to follow, and use as an inspiration for other power safety tool checkpoints that may apply to your specific work.