Improving safety with proper tool selection

Improving safety with proper tool selection

Improving safety with proper tool selection

Selecting the right tool can not only help you improve your job performance, it can prevent chronic injury.

The industrial mechanic's tools are what allows him or her to go in and complete a job each and every day. While this may seem like an obvious statement, the role of these instruments can not be understated. Be it a simple fastening of a loose nut or the installation of an entire industrial machine, tools play a vital role in making sure that these tasks are completed to the best of one's ability.

For this reason, it is important that workers make sure that they are well equipped for the job, be it an installation or maintenance, repair and operation. However, if a worker is injured on the job, their ability to complete these tasks is severely limited. There can be any number of safety hazards on the job site, as laborers often need to install particularly heavy objects at sometimes dangerous heights. While these are certainly among some of the most dangerous risks that millwrights and other industrial workers can undergo, there are smaller ones that can end up leading to chronic injury as well.

Potential for injury
Many of the motions that industrial mechanics use over the course of the day are not particularly dangerous in themselves. However, due to their repetitive nature, they can lead to chronic injuries over time, if one is not careful.

This can be a product of a variety of factors. The most obvious would arise when a worker uses improper motions to complete these repetitive tasks, like hammering in a nail. While this can sometimes be a product of laziness on the worker's part, it can also be a result of the tool one uses. For instance, if the hammer is too heavy or too light, the worker's muscles could be strained in a way that they should not. Also, a tool that is not proportionately sized to your body can force you into awkward positions that can lead you to strain muscles like your neck and back.

What to look for
This means it is essential to look for tools that are able to work with your body so that you can perform your duties free from possible injury. The Center for Disease Control's Department of Workplace Safety and Human Health published a guide on selecting the right ergonomic hand tool.

There are number of tool specifications that can go into the design of a comfortable (or uncomfortable) hand tool. The government body noted that weight and positioning play an important role, but there are other factors to consider as well.

Contract pressure, which entails the strain from a single point being put on the body, can lead to bruising overtime, while tool handle diameter can factor into how comfortable your tool is to use. When looking for a tool, you should look for one that balances these specifications so that you can be comfortable and prevent injury.

Finding the best tool
Be it a simple hand tool like a screwdriver or torque wrench, there are certain universals to look for when selecting your next tool.

The CDC recommended that the best tool is one that fits your hand, reduces the force you need to exert yourself and does not force you into any awkward positioning. Also, make sure that you purchase a tool that is able to withstand the test of time. Hammers can wear down over time, which opens up the potential for chipping debris that could get caught in one's eye or cause lesions.

If you properly consider each of these factors, you can make sure that your tools will be able to last a while without harming yourself in the long run.