Choosing safer hand tools

Hand Tool Safety

Safety is paramount in the construction industry. As such; construction companies go out of their way to ensure that adequate warning systems and prevention schemes are in place on construction sites and also that their employees are properly trained not only in performing their respective tasks but also in safety drills and injury prevention schemes.

What more should construction companies and their counterparts be doing in an effort to ensure not only their employees safety, but the safety of all souls who enter their construction sites?

Steps should be taken by all in the construction industry to choose safer hand tools in construction!

Hazards presented by poor choice in hand tools

A poor choice in hand tool, or the repetitive use of a substandard hand tool, can lead to injuries such strains and sprains of the fingers, hands, wrists, forearms and shoulders of the user. Furthermore ill-equipped personnel such as those who make do with inadequate hand tools are at risk for diseases and anomalies such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and trigger finger; which can force an employee to leave their job in construction indefinitely

How should employers in the construction industry be addressing this matter?

  1. Less force
    Whenever possible it is best to acquire the hand tool that requires the least force to use it. This can help prevent muscular strain and injury, especially when the hand tool requires repetitive use such as a drill or screwdriver.

  1. Balance
    It is always beneficial to the user if the tool in use is inherently balanced. The use of an unbalanced hand tool carries the same risks of injury as the repetitive use of a tool that requires great force to use it.

  1. Power tools
    Care should be taken in the purchasing of power tools especially when they will be used frequently. Not only do you as the purchaser want the best value for your money – but it is in your best interest to put the health and safety of your workforce above the depth you’d need to dig in your pocket to come up with the money to purchase a superior power tool. Power tools that do not have lower vibrations levels for example can cause white finger in your employee; rupturing the blood vessels in said employee’s hand and costing you valuable work hours and the cost of training the employee who is now unable to complete his job.

  1. Left-handed tools
    Do not, under any circumstances expect or allow a left-handed worker to perform his duties with right-handed tools. This would endanger not only the health and safety of that employee – but everyone on the construction site.
Is prioritizing safety an inconvenience?