1. Home
  2. Insights

How To Improve Power Tool Safety at Work

A worker wearing a glove uses a grinder and sparks fly.

Everyone wants to feel safer on the job. Especially in the skilled trades where nail guns, welding equipment, drills and other power tools are used daily. These tools help us get the job done, but they also present several safety risks.

Aerotek Regional Safety Manger Curtis Conner has over 30 years of health and safety experience. He suggests three ways to make operating power tools safer.

Avoid becoming complacent

Many workers routinely use the same power tools from project to project. This makes them more skilled and experienced with their tools but can also lead to workers becoming complacent. A casual attitude towards your tools can lead to serious injury.

“A big issue is a lack of respect for hand tools. A lot of workers don’t understand the seriousness of how a power tool can hurt you. They get complacent with the use of hand tools without the understanding of the tool. They also may lack training and personal protective equipment (PPE). Without the proper maintenance and guards, hand tools could become dangerous,” says Conner.

Maintain a professional attitude when using power tools. Improve your awareness by training with the correct PPE and having a power tool inspection routine.

Use a power tool safety checklist

Having a checklist that identifies potential safety hazards of power tool usage can create a safer workplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a thorough checklist that provides safety guidelines for portable hand and power tools.

Below are a few additional tasks Conners recommends workers add to their safety checklist:

Inspect your tool before operating
Remove any obstacles in your working area
For corded equipment, ensure the wiring isn’t damage or frayed
Ensure a guard or other safety attachments are being utilized
Repair or replace any damaged equipment

Wear the proper PPE 

PPE has become a popular safety topic, but it’s relationship to power tool use is often overlook. If you use power tools in your profession, there are likely additional PPE requirements you should be aware of.

“Adding a PPE checklist is a great addition to a safety checklist. You can highlight what PPE you’ll need depending on the tool you’re using. Include common items like safety gloves or goggles but ensure you’re using any specific equipment the tool may require like hearing protection, a respirator or cut resistant gloves,” says Conner.

If you’re unfamiliar or unaware of the PPE you should be using, ask a supervisor for guidance. If you’re new to using a specific type of PPE, request training on how to properly use the equipment.

Research, preparation and increased awareness leads to better power tool safety. Slowing down and taking time to review your tools, working environment and procedures creates safer working conditions for you and your team.

Contact us to learn more about how we keep our contractors safe.