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Alameda County Law Library Building
125 - 12th Street, 3rd Floor, Oakland, CA 94607 · 510-272-6920

Risk Management Unit, a part of the CAO
Employee Safety

Hand Tool Safety

We all have used hand tools some time in our lives. Tools such as hammers, wrenches, chisels, pliers, screwdrivers, and other hand tools are often underrated as sources of potential danger. Hand tools may look harmless, but they have caused a number of injuries.

When using hand tools, always take the following safety precautions:

  1. Use the right tool for the job.
  2. Check the tool before using it. Don't use broken or damaged tools
  3. Carry tools securely in a tool belt or box.
  4. Select ergonomic tools for your work task when movements are repetitive and forceful.
  5. Use the right personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eye protection, steel toed shoes, gloves, hard hats, etc.
  6. Make sure your grip and footing are secure when using large tools.
  7. If you use a cutting tool, perform the cut in a direction away from your body.
  8. Pass a tool to another person by the handle; never toss it to them.
  9. Be on the lookout for signs of repetitive stress. Take frequent stretch breaks to relieve these stresses.
  10. Store tools properly when you stop work.