Practicing Safety With Tools Large and Small

Your toolbox is full of potential danger, whether you know it or not. You may think that a saw or a razor is the only tool that can really hurt you, but that's where you're wrong. Every tool that you use should be thought of as potentially harmful and treated accordingly.

Don't Improvise with Tools
The first rule of handling tools is the most important. Tools should always be used for their intended purpose only. Most tool-related injuries occur when people misuse or carelessly use the objects. For example, screwdrivers are made to turn the head of a screw, not to tolerate heavy pressure. If you attempt to use a screwdriver as a chisel, the tip is likely to break off and fly upwards toward your face.

Use Tools in Good Condition
As tools get older, they will become worn and more likely to break. Before you use a tool, inspect it for signs of wear or breakage. Pay special attention to tools with wooden handles.

For example, an axe or a hammer can be deadly if it's not in top-notch condition. While swinging the tool, a splintered wooden handle can break and the axe blade or the hammer head can fly off and impale you or an innocent bystander.

Take Extra Care with Power Tools
With power comes additional risk. From power drills to electric saws, you need to be even more cautious while using tools that are driven by electricity.

Remember the basic rules of electric appliances. Never carry a tool by the cord or hose, and never unplug anything by yanking on the cord. Keep cords and hoses away from heat, oil, and sharp edges. Always disconnect tools when they are not in use, and before changing accessories such as blades, bits and cutters.

Lastly, do not rest your finger over the start button or trigger. An accidental start could mean the loss of a finger -- or worse.

Wear Protective Gear
Whenever you work with tools, you should protect yourself with proper gear. Always wear thick gloves and protective eyewear. When you work with power tools, make sure you have hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs. Wear fitted clothing so that the fabric won't get caught in the moving parts of a power tool.

It is important that you always wear footwear while working with tools. Anything dropped on a toe can break or cut it. Sneakers with good treads will also help you to get a firm footing on the ground, which is essential to safe use of tools.

-- Bailey Stoler

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