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A-Z Safety Talk On Hand Tool Inspections And Hazards

Many people may not realize the potential danger that can come with using faulty hand tools. By not inspecting these tools, we are putting ourselves at risk of injury. This talk covers hand tool inspections, including how and why we do them.

By looking for damage, wear, or other defects in tools, safety managers can ensure that employees are using safe equipment and avoid potential accidents.

Although many tool injuries in the workplace stem from misuse, a proportion is a result of damaged or faulty hand tools.

  • Hand tools are involved in 6% of all compensated work injuries
  • The average direct cost of a hand tool injury is listed as $1,250, which does not account for other costs, such as loss of production.

Hand tool inspection: Do it, Do it right, Do it right now.

Why are hand tool inspections important?

Hand tool inspections are important because they can help identify potential hazards before they cause an injury. By looking for damage or wear on hand tools, safety managers can ensure that employees are using safe equipment and avoid potential accidents.

Employees have a part to play by reporting faults or damage of hand tools when they notice it. This way, someone can inspect and, if necessary, repair the tool before it causes an accident for another worker.

Hand tools are used across all areas of the construction, industry, and manufacturing sectors, and in every trade. This makes them an important topic for many workers in the U.S. to know about.

OSHA regulations on hand tool inspections

OSHA regulates the use of hand tools in the workplace to minimize the risk of injuries. Hand tool damage can lead to cuts, lacerations, punctures, and other serious injuries. It is important for safety managers to be aware of these hazards and take steps to mitigate them. Some tips for preventing hand tool injuries include:

  • Inspecting hand tools for damage before each use
  • Using the right tool for the job
  • Keeping tools sharp and in good condition
  • Using appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and safety glasses 

By following these tips, safety managers can help reduce the risk of hand tool injuries in the workplace.

OSHA’s general standard requires all employers to be responsible for the safety and condition of employees’ hand tools, regardless of whether the tool was supplied by them.

Hand tools must be checked for defects and misuse before employees use them. Tools with wooden handles, such as hammers or axes, should be inspected for cracks and other defects before being used. 

OSHA’s hand-tool guidelines for shipyards require that impact tools such as chisels be inspected for mushrooms that could shatter on impact. 

Hazards of damaged hand tools

Each hand tool presents a unique set of hazards that can cause serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries include lacerations, amputations, and puncture wounds.

In order to protect yourself from these hazards, it is important to be aware of the specific dangers associated with each tool. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow all safety precautions.

Here are some potential issues with common hand tools: 

  • Hammers can have loose heads that could fly off and cause damage or splintered handles that can cause a hand injury
  • Wrenches can become bent, leading to the user losing grip on a bolt and hurting themselves
  • Screwdrivers with chipped or broken handles can cause hand injuries, while a worn-down head can slip when working
  • Chisel backs can mushroom, and fragments of metal can fly off and hit people

Hand tool inspection toolbox talk

The inspection that you undertake depends on the tool, but it is important that you check any hand tool before you start work.

Here are the faults to look for when you carry out a hand tool inspection with common hand tools:

  • Hammers – Check the state of the handle for splintering; make sure the head is tight and the claw is intact.
  • Wrenches – Inspect the wrench for wear or chipping, and make sure it is not bent.
  • Screwdrivers – Make sure the handle is intact and clear of chips, and then check the head for wear or chips.
  • Chisels – Make certain there is no mushrooming on the back of the chisel.

If you spot signs of a defect on any piece of equipment, you must remove it from use on the site and inform the relevant person. The company should repair the tool to its manufacturer’s specifications or replace the hand tool with a new one.

Hand tool best practices

  • Keep hand tools clean so that you can use them safely.
  • Store tools correctly and securely, giving them less chance to get damaged.
  • Only use the tool for its intended purpose. Using it for a different task can lead to injuries.
  • When using a hand tool, always be aware of your surroundings and keep bystanders away from the area. If possible, always have someone else nearby to help if you need it.
  • Finally, always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when using a hand tool. This includes gloves, goggles, and other safety gear as recommended by the manufacturer.

Illnesses/injuries related to damaged hand tools

Hand tool safety is an important part of any workplace. When hand tools are damaged, this can lead to serious injuries or illnesses. Some common injuries include cuts, lacerations, punctures, and amputations. In some cases, these injuries can even be fatal.

Questions to employees

  1. What are the signs of a hand tool that is in need of inspection?
  2. What are the steps for inspecting a hand tool?
  3. What are the common problems that can occur with hand tools?

Promote Hand Tool Inspections With This Email Template

Hi everyone,

As safety manager, one of my top priorities is promoting safe work habits. A great way to do this is by conducting regular hand tool inspections.

I encourage everyone on the team to take a few minutes each day to inspect your tools for any damage or wear. Not only will this help keep you safe, but it will also help ensure that our tools are in good working condition.

If you find any damage or wear on your tools, please let me know so that we can get them fixed up. Thanks for helping keep us all safe!


Video on hand tool inspections

Hand tool inspection meme


Hand tool inspections are an important part of workplace safety. By inspecting tools before use, you can identify and fix any potential problems before they lead to an accident. Not only is this an important safety measure, but it can also help to improve productivity by reducing the amount of time spent fixing broken tools.