Maintaining Your Tools

We probably would never be able to finish a job if it wasn't for the tools we use. On any jobsite , there are a lot of hand tools - hammers, saws, chisels, wrenches, screwdrivers and more. Hand tools are so much a part of everyday construction that you may forget they require the same care as power tools. When we give you safe hand tools to do the job, you need to use them the right way.

Try to start each day looking at your tools to make sure they are in good shape. Look at your hand tools - are there any broken parts? Then check out your power tools. Are the cords frayed or do they look OK?

If a tool is broken, repair or replace it before you use it again. Leaving a broken tool on the jobsite can hurt other workers. Be sure to let your supervisor know if there is equipment that needs to be repaired.

I want you to follow these tool maintenance rules to keep yourself safe.

• Keep handles of all hand tools clean and dry during use. A good grip on the tool always helps reduce the risk of injuring yourself and the other workers.

• Inspect the handles of all hammers and screwdrivers. Replace the cracked or splintered ones and be sure they are tight in the tool. If they're not, secure it so the head can't fly off the handle, or replace it.

• When wrenches have sprung jaws your work will slip. The jaws should connect snug and secure to the work.

• Keep all impact tools like drift pins, wedges and chisels free of mushroomed heads. If the head is mushroomed, it can often be redressed and used again. If it can't be redressed you need to throw it away.

• Keep the blades of all cutting tools sharp and angled right. You'll work faster and safer.

• Guards are on tools for a reason - to protect you from getting hurt. Even though you think it slows you down, you need to make sure the guard is always in place. If your tool is missing a guard, let your boss know right away.

• To stop your tools from rusting, rub them with a cloth and fine oil. This will also keep them clean.

• Store your tools in your belt or in a tool box. That way you know where they are and that they're protected. Store them so they can't fall on someone's head or make them trip and fall.

A lot of injuries that occur on the jobsite can be avoided if you keep your tools in good shape.

Help other workers stay safe by keeping your tools in safe condition. Don't forget you need to stay in good shape too - always wear the personal protective equipment you have to protect your eyes and your hearing.

Safety is a team effort, so never be afraid to remind those working around you to work safely with tools.

Questions to start discussion

1. What should you do if a saw is missing a guard?

2. How often should you check out your tools to make sure they' re in good condition? What should you look for?

3. What should you do if you have a broken tool?

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