Hand & Portable Power Tools

Hand and power tools

Hand and power tools are a common part of our everyday lives and are present in nearly every industry. These tools help us to easily perform tasks that otherwise would be difficult or impossible. However, these simple tools can be hazardous and have the potential for causing severe injuries when used or maintained improperly. Special attention toward hand and power tool safety is necessary in order to reduce or eliminate these hazards.

Air Tools

  • Pneumatic power tools must be secured to the hose in such a way as to prevent accidental disconnection. Safety clips or retainers must be securely installed to prevent attachments from being inadvertently expelled.
  • Never exceed the manufacturer’s safe operating pressure for all fittings.
  • Hoses exceeding ½ inch inside diameter must have a safety device at the source of supply or branch line to reduce pressure in the event of hose failure.

Hand Tools

  • All hand tools, whether furnished by the department or employee owned, must be maintained in safe condition.
  • Hand tools must be inspected before each use.  Unsafe hand tools must not be used on any campus worksite.
  • Hand tools must be used for the designed purpose.
  • Impact tools must be free of mushroomed heads.
  • Wooden handles must be free of cracks or splinters and be tight to the tool.
  • Wrenches must not be used when jaws are sprung to the point that slippage occurs.
  • Electric power operated tools must be double-insulated or properly grounded.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses with side shields, face shields, leather work gloves, or leather work boots must be worn when using hand tools.

Portable Power Tools and Equipment

Portable power tools are designed for a wide variety of uses. Circular saws, jigsaws, drills, hammer-drills, sanders, grinders, routers and numerous other power tools, save time and effort on the job. The increased use of power tools heightens the need for awareness of the hazards they present if not operated properly. While each type of tool has its own unique hazards which must be taken into account, the following safety rules are common to all power tools.

  • Do not operate power tools or equipment unless you have been authorized to do so.
  • Inspect tools daily to ensure that they are in proper working order. Do not use damaged or defective tools.
  • Use tools for their intended purpose and in the manner intended.
  • All power tools and electrical devices must be properly grounded.
  • Keep guards and protective devices in place at all times. Never use equipment or tools from which guards have been removed.
  • Do not use electric power tools and equipment when standing in water.
  • Only qualified persons are to repair electric tools or equipment.
  • All extension cords must be the 3-pronged type and made for hard use. (Designation types S, ST, STO, SJ, SJO, SJT, and SJTO.)

Powder-Actuated Tools

  • No employee may operate any powder-actuated tool unless properly trained in all manufacturers’ instructions and authorized by their shop supervisor, manager, or foreman.
  • Powder-actuated tools must not be left loaded and unattended.
  • Used shots must be disposed of properly.
  • Follow all manufacturers’ instructions, which must be located with the tool at all times.


Kelly States
Assistant Director

James McQuaid
Program Manager