group of manufacturing professionals wearing safety equipment

Safety In Seconds: Electric Tool Safety

Today’s Topic: Electric Tool Safety

Today’s topic is about tool safety, specifically, how to work safely with tools powered by electricity.

What are two of the most serious hazards related to electric tools?

  1. Electrical shocks, which can lead to injuries such as heart failure (even a small amount of electric current can result in fibrillation of the heart and death)
  2. Electrical burns

How can you avoid the risk of shock when using electric tools?

To prevent shock:

  • Electric tools must have a three-wire cord with a ground and be plugged into a grounded receptacle, be double insulated, or be powered by a low-voltage isolation transformer.
  • Three-wire cords contain two current-carrying conductors and a grounding conductor. One end of the grounding conductor connects to the tool’s metal housing. The other end is grounded through a prong on the plug.
  • Any time an adapter is used to accommodate a two-hole receptacle, the adapter wire must be attached to a known ground. The third prong must never be removed from the plug.
  • Another option is to use double-insulated tools which are manufactured with non-metallic cases. These tools do not require grounds and are often used in areas that tend to be wet or have a lot of moisture.

What safety practices should be followed when using electric tools?

  • Operate electric tools within their design limitations.
  • Use gloves and appropriate footwear when using electric tools.
  • Disconnect tools when not in use and before servicing.
  • Store electric tools in a dry place when not in use.
  • Do not use electric tools in damp or wet locations unless they are approved for that purpose.
  • Keep work areas well-lit when operating electric tools.
  • Ensure that cords from electric tools do not present a tripping hazard.
  • Avoid the use of extension cords, which tend to be easily damaged due to wear and tear. Contact with exposed wires can lead to electrical shock.

A Final Note

Every time you use an electric tool you are at risk of injury. Think about the dangers you face — and then work in a safe manner.