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Safe tools: How to choose, use, and maintain them

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article image A national survey of Australian tradies indicated that most workplace injuries involving power tools could have been prevented

The safety features of a tool are as important as its intended function, and both aspects are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
 
This article looks at how to make the most of those safety features without compromising productivity.
 
Avoiding injury by hand or powertools often hinges on what you choose to use.
 
Obviously spanners shouldn't become improvised hammers and pliers certainly aren't spanners, but in today's era of highly specific tool design, there is a whole lot more to it.
 
These days the specifics of choice includes soft faced hammers, electrostatic discharge tools, kickback stops, precision grips, fall-restraint devices, and a myriad of other design features to tame the latent hazards of an unfettered tool.
 
As Australia's largest supplier of tools and safety equipment, Blackwoods have helped launch and promote numerous safety innovations in the workplace.
 
Many solutions have been developed in collaboration with end-user customers with products sourced from local and overseas manufacturers.
 
For instance, recently a major mining company worked with Blackwoods to develop a dropguard holder to prevent bars slipping through grid mesh at elevated heights and injuring workers below.
 
It has also taken on a crossbar with a 'knuckle bulge' collar, which is designed to prevent the tool falling through gaps on working surfaces.
 
On its Tridon units, they have small wire rings for attaching to tools when working on rooves or scaffolding.
 
Power tool safety is another area in which the company has worked closely with suppliers in crusading for improved safety in the workplace.
 
In conjunction with Bosch, the two carried out a national survey of Australian tradies a few years ago which indicated that most workplace injuries involving power tools could have been prevented.
 
In cutting injuries in the factory, workshop, or warehouse, approaching the use of tools with the understanding that an accident can be preventable, will help workers stay safe.

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