Safety tips for tools and machinery

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Hand and power tools and machinery are integral to every construction site. Looking after tools and machinery is important from a safety perspective.

The following tips will help construction personnel stay safe onsite:

 

Tools

People using hand and power tools may be exposed to falling, flying or splashing objects, harmful fumes or electrical hazards.

To be effective and safe for use, tools must:

 be kept in good working order,

 be regularly maintained. Electric tools require regular inspection and tagging as safe,

be checked for damage before use — do not use damaged tools,

have cutting edges properly sharpened if used for cutting,

only be used for the purpose for which the tool is designed, and

be operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For operator safety:

use dust masks when sanding, cutting or otherwise creating dust,

use face shields when using grinders,

use eye protection with power-cutting tools and hand tools where flying chips are a risk,

wear good quality ear muffs when operating power tools and equipment, and

feed all electrical tools used outside through an earth leakage protection device or an isolating transformer.

 

Machinery

Construction site machinery includes:

personnel and material hoists,

cranes and lifting appliances,

power-operated elevating working platforms, and

earth-moving machinery.

 

Machinery must generally be:

used by qualified operators,

used with appropriate safety gear,

be maintained in a safe operating condition,

have a current operating certificate, if required,

used only for the work for which it is intended, and

be fitted with a roll-over protective structure (ROPS) in earth-moving machinery.