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Job Safety

Before beginning work in a shop, be sure you are authorized to perform the work to be done and inspect your tools and equipment. If a procedure is potentially hazardous to others in the area, warn fellow workers accordingly. Use warning signs or barriers, as necessary.

Notify your supervisor if you notice any unsafe conditions such as the following:

  • Defective tools or equipment
  • Improperly guarded machines
  • Oil, gas, or other leaks

Inform other employees if you see an unsafe work practice; however, be careful not to distract a person who is working with power tools.

4. Shop Safety Guidelines

Follow these guidelines for general shop safety:

  • Know the hazards associated with your work. Be sure you are fully educated on the proper use and operation of any tool before beginning a job.
  • Always wear appropriate safety gear and protective clothing.
  • Wear nitrile gloves when cleaning with degreasers or ferric chloride.
  • Ensure that there is adequate ventilation to prevent exposure from vapors of glues, lacquers, paints and from dust and fumes.
  • Maintain good housekeeping standards.
  • Keep the work area free from slipping/tripping hazards (oil, cords, debris, etc.).
  • Clean all spills immediately.
  • Remove sawdust, wood chips, and metal chips regularly.
  • It is recommended that electrical cords pull down from an overhead pulley rather than lying on the floor.
  • Leave tool and equipment guards in place.
  • Know where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.
  • Make sure all tools and equipment are properly grounded and that cords are ingood condition.
  • Double-insulated tools or those with three-wire cords are essential for safety.
  • Use extension cords that are large enough for the load and distance. Secure all compressed gas cylinders. Never use compressed gas to clean clothing or skin.
  • Secure all compressed gas cylinders. Never use compressed gas to clean clothing or skin.
  • Always use flashback arrestors on cutting/welding torches.
  • Take precautions against heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
  • Wear infrared safety goggles when appropriate.

5. Hand Tools

Hand tools are non-powered tools. They include axes, wrenches, hammers, chisels, screw drivers, and other hand-operated mechanisms. Even though hand tool injuries tend to be less severe than power tool injuries, hand tool injuries are more common. Because people take everyday hand tools for granted, they forget to follow simple precautions for safety.

The most common hand tool accidents are caused by the following:

  • Failure to use the right tool
  • Failure to use a tool correctly
  • Failure to keep edged tools sharp
  • Failure to replace or repair a defective tool
  • Failure to store tools safely

IMPORTANT: Use the right tool to complete a job safely, quickly, and efficiently. Follow these guidelines for general hand tool safety:

Wear safety glasses whenever you hammer or cut, especially when working with surfaces that chip or splinter.

  • Do not use a screwdriver as a chisel. The tool can slip and cause a deep puncture wound.
  • Do not use a chisel as a screwdriver. The tip of the chisel may break and cause an injury.
  • Do not use a knife as a screwdriver. The blade can snap and injure an eye.
  • Never carry a screwdriver or chisel in your pocket. If you fall, the tool could cause a serious injury. Instead, use a tool belt holder.
  • Replace loose, splintered, or cracked handles. Loose hammer, axe, or maul heads can fly off defective handles.
  • Use the proper wrench to tighten or loosen nuts. Pliers can chew the corners off a nut.
  • When using a chisel, always chip or cut away from yourself. Use a soft-headed hammer or mallet to strike a wooden chisel handle. A metal hammer or mallet may cause the handle to split.
  • Do not use a wrench if the jaws are sprung.
  • Do not use impact tools, such as chisels, wedges, or drift pins, if their heads are mushroom shaped. The heads may shatter upon impact.
  • Direct saw blades, knives, and other tools away from aisle areas and other employees.
  • Keep knives and scissors sharp. Dull tools are more dangerous than sharp tools.
  • Iron or steel hand tools may cause sparks and be hazardous around flammable substances. Use spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminum, or wood when working around flammable hazards.

Improper tool storage is responsible for many shop accidents. Follow these guidelines to ensure proper tool storage:

  • Have a specific place for each tool.
  • Do not place unguarded cutting tools in a drawer. Many hand injuries are caused by rummaging through drawers that contain a jumbled assortment of sharp-edged tools.
  • Store knives or chisels in their scabbards.
  • Hang saws with the blades away from someone's reach.
  • Provide sturdy hooks to hang most tools on.
  • Rack heavy tools, such as axes and sledges, with the heavy end down.

6. Insulation

Asbestos, man-made mineral fibers, PVC, and urethane foam can be extreme respiratory hazards. To protect yourself from these and other respiratory hazards, minimize your exposure to particulate matter from insulation, fumes, dusts, and aerosols.