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Hand and power tool safety

Many workplace accidents can be associated with equipment like scaffolding, large machinery like grain bins on farms and vehicles used on jobsites such as backhoes or forklifts. However, Minnesota employees who must use hand tools or power tools while on the job can also experience accidents involving these smaller items. Understanding the dangers associated with these tools is important in the effort to keep workers safe.

As explained by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, there are different types of power tools. Each type can be classified by the source of power than runs it. For example, there are hydraulic tools, pneumatic tools, electric tools and liquid fuel tools. Hand tools are those tools which can be handheld but do not require any power to use. Examples include wrenches, screwdrivers, vice grips, axes and crowbars.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicates that accidents can result if tools are not properly used or if they are not properly maintained. It is the responsibility of an employer to ensure that workers are trained on how to use these tools and for monitoring compliance with safety procedures. Employers also are responsible for maintaining equipment.

A tool that is improperly maintained could cause harm to people if it malfunctions during use. A tool with a loose handle should not be used until fixed because the head could break free and hit someone. Failure to use guards can expose workers to a greater risk of being cut or otherwise injured. Accidents can happen when using, transporting or even storing tools.

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