Hand tools are designed to provide many years of reliable service, but if they are not properly used and maintained, the risk of injury and productivity loss could be high.
Hand tools are in high demand in an industrial setting. Be it installing a new piece of equipment, or repairing an existing one, millwrights need to make sure that the tools they use perform their best.
Tool maintenance and storage are essential to ensuring workplace safety. This goes beyond just making sure that tools are wiped down and stored properly, into taking preventative measures to limit hazards and prevent future failures. By employing a sturdy and sound maintenance and storage system in your plant, you can make sure that workers will always have high quality tools ready for any kind of maintenance, repair and operation task necessary.
Proper tool use
The first step to keeping your hand tools in top condition is using them properly in the first place. When a worker uses a tool for a job the tool was not designed to handle, tool damage is likely to occur..
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration noted that one example of improper tool usage would be using a chisel as a screwdriver. Doing so can break the tip of the chisel, which could then fly off and hit the user or another employee. Another potential hazard is using impact tools with mushroom heads, as doing so could create a similar situation.
Always use a tool for its intended use, as it can extend its lifespan and prevent unneeded injuries in the work place.
Tool Maintenance and Storage
The next step in making sure your tools are performing their best is maintenance. As stated before, improper use can create unnecessary wear and tear on a tool, but proper maintenance also goes beyond the point of use. It's good practice to wipe down your tools of excess dirt, oil and other products as these contaminants can cause tool erosion.
Another important factor is to consider where your tools are stored. Use drawer liners to line your tool chests so that there is no metal on metal contact. Premium toolboxes feature anti-corrosion drawer liners that help protect your tool collection. Always store your tools in their proper location, thus avoiding damage by excess humidity or chemical contaminants.
Tool inspection and documentation
One of the best ways to keep your tools in the best possible condition is taking proactive measures to address tool wear before it becomes a problem.
Keep a log of tools before and after they are used, noting any places where you see wear and tear. This will allow you to notice if any tools are approaching the point to which they are unusable and need to be replaced. The Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation noted that if this damage goes unnoted and the tool becomes neglected it can cause serious injury down the line. A tool quality tracking system can also help identify when a tool needs to be sharpened or shafts need to be straightened out.
These measures, can go a long way in extending tool lifespan. Taking a preventative and proactive approach to hand tool maintenance and use will extend the life of your tools and make you a more productive employee.