Hand Operated Tools And Equipment

A Safety Talk for Discussion Leaders

Review this safety talk before the meeting and become familiar with its content. Make notes about the points made in this talk that pertain to your workplace. You should be able to present the material in your own words and lead the discussion without reading it.

Seating space is not absolutely necessary, but arrangements should be made so that those attending can easily see and hear the presentation.

Collect whatever materials and props you will need ahead of time. Try to use equipment in your workplace to demonstrate your points.

During the Meeting

Note: Give the safety talk in your own words. Use the printed talk merely as a guide.

The purpose of a safety meeting is to initiate discussion of safety problems and provide solutions to those problems. Encourage employees to discuss hazards or potential hazards the encounter on the job. Ask them to suggest ways to improve safety in their area.

Don’t let the meeting turn into a gripe session about unrelated topics. As discussion leader, its your job to make sure the topic is safety. Discussing other topics wastes time and can ruin the effectiveness of your safety meeting.

At the end of the meeting, ask employees to sign a sheet on the back of this talk as a record that they attended the safety meeting. Keep this talk on file for your records.

Hand Operated Tools and Equipment

Hand-operated tools and equipment are involved in a large number of accidents each year. Workers have experienced eye injuries, severe laceration and puncture wounds, broken bones, electrocution and have been caught in tool mechanisms as a result of working with hand tools and equipment.

Note to discussion leader: Customize your talk to the workers’ specific job functions. If you show the percentage or number of hand-tool injuries in your department, present the figures. Organize discussion using the questions and answers given as a guide.

What injuries, accidents or near misses have workers in this department had while using hand tools or equipment?

If no instances are brought up and you know of none, use these examples: A maintenance worker uses adjustable pliers instead of a socket wrench or box wrench to loosen a nut; a worker uses a claw hammer to strike a cold chisel with a mushroomed head; or a worker uses an electric power tool that has the grounding conductor removed.

What are the most frequent causes of hand-tool and equipment accidents?


  • Using hand tools improperly or abusing the equipment–grinding a piece of stock on the side of a grinding wheel instead of using the front surface, or using the back of a drill motor as a hammer.
  • Using the wrong tool or piece of equipment for the particular job–using a screwdriver as a pry bar or chisel, or using a pipe wrench to loosen a nut.
  • Using unsafe tools–cutting tools such as axes, bits, chisels or knives that are dull, or electrical tools with worn or cut cord insulation exposing the conductors.

Note to discussion leader: Ask the group to recall instances where tools or equipment were misused, the wrong tool was used or equipment was in poor or unsafe condition.  Be prepared to cite several instances (without finding fault) that you are aware of or areas where you have concerns, to supplement information from the group.

Review the following safe work practices, reinforcing that you consider them minimum standards for working safely with hand tools or equipment

  • Use the right tool or piece of equipment for the job.
  • Use only tools in safe condition.
  • Tools and equipment must be used properly and not abused.
  • Never apply a hand tool to a piece of moving machinery.
  • Before starting a job, ask, “What could possibly go wrong?” and, “How could the job be done better/safer?”

Note to discussion leader: Close the discussion by asking for questions of concerns.  Make sure that the workers understand that you are concerned about their safety and health.

If the employees have questions regarding safety procedures, tell where copies of the procedures are located, or how they can get information. Above all, if you do not know the answer to a question, say so. And then get the answer to them as soon as possible.