Hand tools have been used by the human race for thousands of years. From the early Stone Age tools to the evolution of the more sophisticated engineered tools of the modern area, hand tools have completely changed the way we work today.

Many daily tasks that would be difficult or even impossible to perform are completed with the use of hand and power tools. With the advancement in the tools of today there are new challenges that face the user. Even the simplest of tools come with great hazards that can cause serious injuries if they are not used and maintained correctly. To reduce and even eradicate the potential hazards from the use of hand and power tools, great attention should be paid to safety.

Hand Tools
Through the misuse and inadequate maintenance of hand tools many hazards are caused. Remembering the following when working with hand tools will help you to safeguard yourself against such hazards:

1) Always ensure that the jaws are not cracked, twisted or sprung before using.

2) Impact tools like wedges and chisels are unsafe if their heads have mushroomed.

3) Any tool with a wooden handle should not be used if the handle is loose, splintered or cracked.

4) Screwdrivers should never be used as a chisels.

5) If a handle of a tool is taped it should be thoroughly checked for any cracks or looseness.

6) Always use protective equipment such as gloves and goggles.

7) The floor around the working area should be free of debris.

8) Cutting tools should be kept sharp and free of rust.

Power Tools
If power tools are not properly used they can become tremendously hazardous. Power tools should always be fitted with safety switches and guards. Take into consideration the following precautions when handling this type of tool.

1) When power tools are not in use or accessories need to be changed they should be disconnected from the power supply.

2) Ensure power tools are disconnected from the power supply when cleaning or servicing them.

3) Any person that is not working on the task in hand should not be in the area.

4) If a tool is plugged in to the power outlet, never hold the power switch.

5) Prior to using a power tool, ensure that the work is clamped leaving both of your hands free to operate the tool.

6) Loose clothing or jewellery should not be worn as these could get in any moving parts of the power tool.

7) Any tool that is damaged should not be used and labelled as such.

8) Any portable power tool should never be carried by the cable.

9) Cables and hoses should be kept away from heat, sharp edges and oil.

Remembering that it can take only one mistake to cause serious injury will help you to follow these precautions. Be sensible and be safe!