As Tim Allen says almost every week on ABC's Home Improvement, "It's tool time!"
Yes, today we're going to talk about power tools. A lot of us use them very frequently both here and at home. In fact act, power tools are so common, that many people think they know just about everything there is to know about using them properly and s afely. But, if you look into some of the accident statistics, you might get the sense that there are an awful lot of people who are like Tim Allen's character. They think they know it all, when, in reality, every time they turn on a power tools, they be come accidents waiting to happen
Seriously, though, I know that many of you have outstanding safety records. And that's great. But a little refresher course never hurts. So let's do a quick review of some basic power tool safety tips.
Rule Number One Covers It All
The first rule covers just about everything. Know the tool. If you follow this one piece of advice, it can keep you out of trouble almost every time.
What do I mean? First of all, you have to know the tool well enough to know when it is right and when it is wrong for a specific job. Too many accidents are a result of people trying to force a tool to do something it was never intended to do. You've g ot to understand the limitations of any power tool you operate. At the same time, never underestimate its power. Portable power tools can be lethal if used improperly.
Once you're sure you've selected the right tool for the job, it's vital that you know how to use it properly. Reading the manufacturer's instructions is a good start. And if you're completely unfamiliar with the tool, talk to someone else who has used i t.
Understanding how to use it does not meant the you're ready to turn it on. Again, you have to know the tool.. Look at it closely. Make sure:
So now you know you've got the right tool for the job and know how the tools is in good operating condition. What else should you do to keep yourself safe?
(Allow employees to discuss ideas, etc.)
The next thing you want to do is think about what kind of protective gear you'll need. Usually, this is no big deal. But if you're working with a tool that will generate dust, shavings, or flying particles, you better put on a pair of safety glasses or g oggles. About 90,000 work-related disabling eye injuries occur every year. Keep that in mind before you start thinking goggles are a waste of time.
While we're on the subject of what to wear, let me also stress what you should not wear. As a general rule, don't wear loose clothing or jewelry when you're using power tools. It's just too easy for them to get caught in the equipment or to pull you int o it.
After you know the tools well enough to know how to dress for it, you're ready to get moving. As a final precaution before turning on the power, double check the emergency shut-off. Most power tools will stop either when you release your finger from the switch or when you press a certain button or switch. You don't want to wait until a tool is working its way through your hand before you try to find the power shut-off.
And those are the basics - at least some of them. There are still a few other items to keep in mind. They fall under the category of housekeeping.
For example, it's always a good idea to keep the work area clean and organized. If you have a rag soaked with a flammable material on your work table, get rid of it. This is a good habit in general, but it's especially important if you're going to turn on a pieced of electric equipment. Sparks could fly and ignite the rag before you know what happened. It's also a good idea to clean up when you're done. Dust and debris only create additional hazards for someone else.
Housekeeping is also important with regard to storing your tools. Store sharp tools safely and use blade guards. Don't let cords dangle - they are major tripping hazards. Store bigger, heavier tools securely so they won't fall on anyone.
Most of this information is just good common sense. But if I didn't think it was important, I wouldn't be talking about it. Even if you feel like you know all of this stuff, I hope I at least reminded you to be careful with power tools. I don't want any of you to become accident statistics. And I know you don't either.