NC STATE Home Page NC STATE UNIVERSITY - Environmental Health and Safety 2620 Wolf Village Way Cmpus Box 8007, Raleigh NC 27695  Phone 919.515.7915 FAX 919.515.6307 NC STATE Home Page



Hand tools and portable tools pervade nearly every type of industrial setting. Because of their common use hand-tools mishaps account for about 6% of all disabling work injuries each year in the U.S.

The reason is simple. Far too man workers are not sufficiently trained in the proper use and care of the tools they work with.


To minimize the amount of accidents occurring with powered tools, and to reduce the severity of outcome with an incident.

To comply with OSHA 1910.241-247 standard "Hand and Portable Tools"


Any department requiring their employees to use hand or portable tools must comply with the OSHA standard.


OSHA recognized five categories of powered operated hand tools.

    1. Electric power operated tools
    2. Pneumatic power tools
    3. Fuel powered tools
    4. Hydraulic power tools
    5. Power-actuated tools
Each employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees. This includes tools and equipment which may be furnished by employees.

Training will include:

    1. How to select the proper tool for the job
    2. How to use these tools properly
    3. Procedures for inspection of tools
    4. Procedures for storage of tools
    5. Procedures for repair of faulty tools
    6. The importance of planning jobs ahead so that the correct tools are available

General Safe Work Practices

    1. Wear safety glasses with side shields or other equivalent eye protection when using hand or portable power tools

    2. Use the right tool of the job

    3. Inspect tools before use. Do not use damaged tools

    4. Know how to use the tool properly

    5. Carry tools properly and store them in a safe manner

Electric Tools
    1. All electric power tools shall be effectively grounded except the double insulated and cordless type

    2. Electric cords shall be inspected periodically and kept in good condition. Heavy-duty plugs that clamp to the cord should be used to prevent strain on the current-carrying parts if the cord is accidentally pulled

    3. Electric saw guards should be checked frequently to be sure it operates freely and encloses the teeth completely when it is not cutting

Abrasive Wheels and Tools
    1. Power - all grinding machines shall be supplied ample power to maintain the spindle speed at safe levels under all normal operating conditions.

    2. Guarding -

      I. Must be equipped with safety guards approved by ANSI of the use, care and protection of abrasive wheels

      ii. Safety guards shall be strong enough to withstand the effect of a bursting wheel

      iii. Guards shall be mounted such to maintain proper aliment with the wheel. The guard and its fastenings shall be of sufficient strength to retain fragments of the wheel in case of accidental breakage.

      iv. The maximum angular exposure of the grinding wheel periphery and sides shall not exceed 180oF.

      v. All abrasive wheels shall be closely inspected and ring-tested before mounting to ensure that they are free from cracks and defects.

Pneumatic Power Tools
    1. Shall be secured to the hose or whip by some positive means to prevent the tools from becoming accidentally disconnected

    2. Safety clips or retainers shall be securely installed and maintained on pneumatic impact tools to prevent attachments from being accidentally expelled.

    3. All pneumatically driven nailers, staplers, and other similar equipment provided with automatic fastener feed, which operate at more than 100 psi shall have a safety device on the muzzle to prevent the tool from ejecting fasteners, unless the muzzle is in contact with the work surface

    4. Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes unless the pressure is reduced to 30 psi at the outlet nozzle

    5. The use of hoses for hoisting or lowering tools shall not be permitted

Fuel Powered Tools
    1. All fuel powered tools shall be stopped while being refueled. Serviced or maintained, and fuel shall be transported, handled, and stored in approved safety cans.

    2. Leakage or spillage of flammable or combustible liquids shall be disposed of promptly and safely

Hydraulic Power Tools

    1. The fluid used in these power tools shall be fire-resistant and shall retain its operating characteristics at the most extreme temperatures to which it will be exposed

    2. The manufacturer's safe operating pressures for hoses, valves, pipes, filters, and other fitting shall not be exceeded

Explosive Actuated Tools
    1. The tools shall be tested each day before loading to see that safety devices are in proper working condition.

    2 Any tool found not in proper working order or one that has developed a defect during use shall be removed from service immediately and not used until properly repaired.

    3. The tool shall be designed so that it cannot be fired unless it is equipped with a standard protective shield or guard.

    4. The firing mechanism shall be designed so the tool cannot fire during loading or preparation to fire or if the tool is dropped while loaded.

    5. Tools shall not be loaded until just prior to the intended firing time. Neither loaded or empty tools are to be pointed at any employees.

    6. Loaded tools shall not be left unattended