Let’s call this a Labor Day safety warning. If your job requires you to regularly use dangerous tools to complete a project, safety must come first. An infographic from Apple Rubber states that there were nearly 3 million injuries in the private sector in 2013. But worker safety has drastically improved in the last several decades. In 1970, almost 11 percent of workers reported injuries as opposed to just over 3 percent in 2014.
To stay safe in the workplace, some basic rules must be followed:
- Stay alert
- Wear safety goggles
- Avoid disabling the safety when a tool isn’t being used.
For instructions on handling common dangerous tools, consult the following guide to keep you safe:
Whether it is large or small, nail guns are powerful and easy to use, which makes the incidence of injury higher. The CDC reports that 68 percent of worker injuries are directly related to nail guns. To stay safe, you must take the following precautions:
- Make certain the gun is in the proper position, which in most cases is the sequential mode. This builds in an extra step before the gun fires and requires you to pull the trigger rather than just depressing the muzzle.
- Be sure your hands are clear of any misfired nails before nailing anything together.
- Go over safety precautions periodically. Either read the manual or the safety procedures provided by your place of employment.
When using knives at work, you must exercise caution. Here are some common sense tips to always follow when handling these knives:
- Don’t walk fast or run with the knife in your hand.
- Don’t slam the knife down out of frustration or throw it down.
- Don’t use it for any unintended purposes, such as using the blade as a screwdriver.
- Keep the knife blade sharp (dull knifes tend to cause more injuries than sharp knives).
- Don’t attempt to catch a falling knife.
Since hammers are a basic tool, people tend to assume they don’t cause any injuries. However, using a hammer erroneously can cause a broken wrist or finger. When doing work with a hammer, ensure the handle is secure. If it isn’t, there is a risk the head could ricochet and land on your body. Also check for splinters before using it. Have a firm grip, hold the end of the handle and aim squarely when hammering. And use a hard surface because a soft base might give and cause the hammer to slip.
A table saw is a large piece of equipment that should not be underestimated. When in use, keep your area clean so clutter doesn’t impair your ability to use the saw. Also make sure the safety features work properly prior to working with a blade. When you decide to change the blade, disconnect it from the power source to avoid a serious injury. If you choose to cut a large piece of wood, rest it on a stand to maintain the proper position while cutting. Two other important things to remember: do not reach over a moving blade and refrain from free-handing a cut. Instead use the miter gauge or fence to help with the stock.
A ladder is a common piece of equipment that sent 2.1 million people to the emergency room between 1990 and 2005, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. If you are using tools while on a ladder, store them in a belt so you can climb without juggling extra items in your hands. You can determine if an extension ladder is properly secured by propping your feet out at the base of the ladder and extending your arms in a straight line. If it’s secure, you should be able to rest your hands on the rung in front of you comfortably.