Hand tools make many jobs performed around the drill rig or in the shop possible. How often do you stop and think about potential hazards surrounding various hand tools? They may be simple, but they still can cause injury requiring first aid or even a trip to the emergency room.
Here are some tips to protect yourself and your crew while using everyday hand tools:
- Eye protection should be worn when using hammers, punches, wire cutters, chisels, files, saws, paint brushes, or any other tool that creates chips, dust, debris or splashes that could get in your eyes.
- Correct foot protection can save you from broken bones or other injuries when using heavy hand tools like sledgehammers or pipe wrenches.
- Gloves can protect your hands from common injuries like cuts from knives, metal splinters when grinding or chiseling, and even impact damage from repeated shocks when hammering, chiseling, or punching.
- Avoid muscle strains from bending, twisting, applying force in awkward positions, or overextending your reach. Keep your hand tools close by and make sure you have good balance and secure footing.
- Using the wrong tool, or even the right tool used incorrectly, can result in injury so make sure you select the correct hand tool for the job.
- Inspect your hand tools before and after use. Failure to address things like cracked or loose handles, bent shafts, dull or chipped cutting surfaces, and gouges on the gripping surface can lead to serious injury in the case of a tool break.
Don’t overlook the potential hazards of hand tools commonly used on and around a drilling rig. Drillers and drilling crews who know how to properly use and care for hand tools have a better chance of avoiding injuries.