Woodwork, plumbing, finishing and electrical works are integral parts of building and civil engineering construction works. These works require the use of power tools (see Figure 1) to cut, shape, trip materials etc. These tools usually contain shape edges/points and accident with them could lead to severe injury or death. Therefore, safety guidelines are very necessary to ensure they are safely used. The following safety rules should be observed in the use of power tools. The rules can be grouped into general safety rules and particular safety rules.
GENERAL SAFETY RULES
1. Keep your tools within easy reach and where they cannot fall on the floor or machinery. Avoid placing tools anywhere above machinery or electrical apparatus. Serious damage will result if the tool falls into the machinery after the equipment is turned on or running.
2. Keep each tool in its proper storage place – a tool is useless if you cannot find it. If you return each tool to its proper place you would know where to find it when you need it.
3. Never use damaged tools – notify your workshop attendant of any broken or damaged tools. A battered screw driver may slip or spoil the screw slot or cause painful injury to the user. A gauge strained out of shape will result in inaccurate measurement.
4. Keep your tools in good condition – keep your tools free of rust, nicks, burrs and breaks. Keep your tool set complete. If you are issued a tool box, each tool should be placed in it when not is use. If possible, the box should be locked and stored in a designated area. Keep an inventory list in the box and check it after each job. This would help to keep track of your tool.
5. Use each tool only on the job for which it was designed – if you use the wrong tool to make an adjustment, the result will probably be unsatisfactory. For example, if you use a socket wrench that is too big, you will round off the corners of the wrench or nut. If this rounded wrench or nut is not replaced immediately, the safety of your equipment may be endangered in an emergency.
PARTICULAR SAFETY RULES
1. Never operate any power equipment unless you are completely familiar with its control features.
2. Inspect all portable power tools before using them. See that they are clean and in good condition.
3. Make sure there is plenty of light in the work area. Never work with power tools in dark areas where you cannot see clearly.
4. Before connecting a power tool to a power source, be sure that the tool switch is in the ‘OFF’ position.
5. When operating a power tool, give it your FULL and UNDIVIDED attention.
6. Do not distract or in any way disturb another person while they are operating a power tool.
7. Never try to clear a jammed power tool unless it is disconnected from the power source.
8. After using a power tool, turnoff the power, disconnect the power source, wait for the tool to stop, and then remove all waste and scraps from the work-area. Store the tool in its storage place.
9. Never plug the power cord of a portable electric tool into a power source before making sure that the source has the correct voltage and type of current called for the nameplate of the tool.
10. Do not allow power cords to come in contact with sharp objects.
11. Never use a damaged cord. Replace immediately.
12. Check electrical cables and cords frequently for overheating. Use only approved extension cords if needed.
13. See that all cables and cords are positioned carefully so they do not become tripping hazards.
14. Treat electricity with respect. If water is present in the area of electrical tool operation, be extremely cautious. If necessary, disconnect the power tool.