Many do-it-yourself undertakings involve the use of electric power tools. Because of their power and the use of electricity, they present certain safety risks that users need to be aware of. Working with power tools requires instruction and training as they can be deadly if not properly used or maintained. Electrical shocks, which can lead to injuries, such as heart failure and burns, are among the major hazards associated with electric-powered tools.
Listed are some guidelines to help protect you from power tool hazards:
- Power cords are one of the most dangerous problem areas on electrical tools. Cords should be inspected frequently for fraying and other damage.
- Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) with every power tool.
- Wear appropriate personal protective gear, such as safety eyewear, face shields, hard hats, safety shoes and insulated gloves.
- Never use tools in a damp or wet environment (unless approved for that use) which will increase the risk of a short circuit or electrocution. Additionally, make sure the work area is uncluttered and well lit.
- Do not use power tools without the proper guards and safety switches.
- Store in a dry place with cords wound loosely (a cord should never be wrapped around the tool itself) and tools that have malfunctioned should be properly labeled to prevent others from attempting to use them.
- Electric tools must have a three-wire cord with a ground and be plugged into a grounded receptacle, double insulated or be powered by a low-voltage isolation transformer which is used to convey electrical power coming from a source of alternating current (AC) power to a certain device, where the powered device is being isolated from the power source for safety measures. Double–insulated tools are identified with a square-within-a-square logo or the words “double-insulated” on the tool.
- Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated.
- Read the tool owner’s manual prior to use and operate tools within their design limitations.
- Do not operate power tools in explosive atmospheres, such as in the presence of flammable liquids, gases or dust. Power tools create sparks which may ignite the dust or fumes.
Power tools can be very useful and can save you a lot of work when compared to using conventional hand tools. When it comes to purchasing these tools, it is wise to spend a little more and focus on quality rather than price for your safety.