Working With Hand Tools

Working With Hand Tools 

Short safety talk on working safely when using hand tools.

Author: Star Refrigeration


                                                                                                            Working With Hand Tools

Working with hand tools every day results in familiarity, which in turn can lead to complacency.

Faulty tools or wrongly used tools can cause nasty injuries and produce poor quality work.

Taking reasonable care of your own Health and Safety, means keeping tools in good condition and using them expertly.

 Sharp tools that cut steel can cut flesh without trouble!
 Hammers that can drive nails can squash fingers too!

Work Equipment Regulations require employers to ensure that tools are ‘suitable’ and maintained in good order.  They rely on you, as skilled trades persons, to assist them in this duty by immediately reporting if any tool is not suitable or is broken.

The following examples require care and need to avoid abuse.


o Must be the correct size otherwise they are automatically unsuitable.
o Ring spanners are generally preferable to open ended spanners.
o Open-ended spanners are generally preferable to adjustable spanners.
o Adjustable spanners, although very convenient, they can quickly become dangerous due to wear on the jaws and adjusting mechanism.
o Adjustable spanners are unsuitable if the jaws are no longer parallel or if f the sliding-jaw is wobbly.
o Stillsons will suffer in time from wear on the mechanism.
o Stillsons are unsuitable if the spring is exhausted or if the gripper teeth are worn.
o NEVER use a piece of pipe I order to gain extra leverage – the Stillson is obviously too small for the job in hand and unsuitable.


o The file is unsuitable if the handle is damaged or missing.
o A file is brittle and should not be used as a lever or a chisel.

Cold Chisels

o Keep chisels sharp – this reduces the tendency for “mushrooming”
o If the head “mushrooms” after prolonged use, grind it off to prevent flying fragments.


o Use the correct weight of hammer for the job.
o Ensure the hammer head is secure.
o NEVER shorten the hammer shaft – this spoils the balance and could cause a strained wrist.


o Ensure that the tip is the correct size for fitting the screw head.
o The tip should be cross-ground to minimise the risk of slipping.
o Cross-point (Phillips) screwdrivers are not generally re-sharpenable.
o NEVER use a screwdriver as a chisel.

o Retractable knives (Stanley) are useful in certain circumstances but should not be used if an alternative exists.
o NEVER use a knife for cable-stripping.


o Use the correct size of saw with the correct type of blade for the job.
o Slow cutting keeps the blade cool and gives better results.
o High-speed blades last longer but are brittle.
o NEVER start cutting unless the work is properly secured.

Toolbox or toolbag

o Use a proper toolbox or toolbag.
o Good housekeeping prevents damage, and careless loss.
o Maintain all tools in good condition.
o NEVER walk about with sharp tools in pockets.
o ALWAYS put hand tools away when not in use.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 18 February 2014, 12:31 PM