Essential tool safety knowledge tips

Finishing a household job perfectly is very satisfying, but finishing it safely is more important. These tips will help you safely work with your tools.

Essential tool safety knowledge tips

1. Store safely

  • When you're not using your tools, keep them in assigned places where they won't be dinged up by other tools.
  • Store cutting tools where their sharp edges won't be damaged (and where they won't damage other tools or fingers).
  • To prevent rust, store tools in a dry place. Spray a rust-inhibiting coating on steel tools or put a few packets of clay or silicone desiccant in the toolbox or cabinet. (Such packets come with most new tools; you can buy them at hardware or home supply stores.)
  • If there are children in your home, keep tools under lock and key. This keeps them from being damaged or causing damage to roaming hands.
  • If the tools don't come with blade protectors, make your own: Get a couple of plastic report-cover spines from a stationary store and slide them over the teeth of your saws; cut slits into tennis balls and slip chisel blades inside.

2. Work cautiously

  • When you're working on a home project that requires tools or machinery, always wear sturdy shoes with slip-proof soles.
  • Roll up your sleeves and tie back your hair to keep it out of the way as you work.
  • So that you're not juggling a thousand things, carry your hand tools in a tool belt, and keep nails and screws in a canvas nail apron.

3. Use protection

  • Wear heavy work gloves when you're doing anything that could smash or scrape your fingers. Use rubber gloves when handling toxic materials. Don't wear gloves when cutting or drilling — the tool could slip out of your hands and injure you.
  • Whenever you do grinding, filing, chiselling or any other work that involves dust or flying chips, wear safety goggles (or even a full face shield) to protect your eyes.
  • Wear a dust mask when sanding or doing other work that might stir up particles that could irritate your respiratory system. The most effective masks are marked "CSA-approved". They are generally thicker than cheaper masks and have straps for a tighter seal.
  • If you're going to be subjected to harmful vapours or fibres (such as those from insulation), wear a respirator. The best models come with interchangeable, colour-coded cartridges to filter out the harmful effects of toxic dust and fumes from specific materials, such as paints and adhesives.
  • If you'll be kneeling a lot, wear protective kneepads or kneel on a folded blanket or thick layers of newspaper.
  • When you use a loud power tool or make a lot of noise, protect your ears with foam earplugs or earmuff-style ear protectors.

4. Working with toxic or flammable material

  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case a small blaze breaks out.
  • Before working with flammable or toxic substances — such as paint, kerosene, or contact cement — extinguish any gas pilot lights in the room, open windows, and turn on a fan to ensure proper ventilation. Above all, don't smoke. Many substances give off fumes that could ignite.
  • Also, only buy as much flammable or toxic material as you need (don't buy a litre of paint thinner if you only need a cup, no matter how great the price might be).
  • Dispose of leftovers as recommended by the manufacturer, or contact an environmental protection agency or your health department for instructions.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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