In the modern tower and line maintenance industries, power tools are essential to effectively and efficiently complete the work. Convenient and versatile, these tools are the backbone of any successful project. However, each of these gadgets, while made to make certain tasks easier, require a certain level of skill, experience, and knowledge to use in the proper manner. In fact, using them without the proper training can result in unfortunate injuries to the handler and those around them. So, to stay as safe on the job site as possible, utilize these essential tips for handling power tools.
Main Types of Power Tools
To use power tools to their fullest potential, it’s crucial that we first know the types of tools and how they differ in their operation. This knowledge also helps ensure that each worker uses their equipment properly and in a safety-conscious way. Overall, knowing which tools you’re using at each given time can help you further streamline your work process and even become more efficient at completing your jobs. Two of the main types of power tools include:
Pneumatic tools run on compressed air from a long tube connected to an air compressor. Traditionally, these tools are more powerful than their electric counterparts—though the gap is quickly closing. The compressed air pumped through these tools allows them to produce more torque and RPM, helping finish jobs faster with less of an overall effort. However, it’s important to note these tools have a lot of moving parts and, therefore, a lot to keep track of as you use them.
As demonstrated by their name, electric tools are dominantly electric-powered—either in the form of a battery or electrical cable. These are often the most common types of tools used on projects, as they’re extremely versatile and portable for those working off the ground—especially battery-powered models. Current technology has also helped increase the longevity and power of these models, making them more of an option for even the toughest jobs.
Since electric tools are significantly more common, you’ll also more often find yourself working with them rather than pneumatic models. Some of the electric tools maintenance workers generally use include the following:
- Grease guns
- Right angle drills
- Mag drills
- Heat Guns
- Band Saws
- Rotary Hammers
- Impact Drivers
- Torque Impact Wrenches
General Handling Safety Procedures
Though you need to handle each type of tool in its own specialized way, it’s still important that every worker has a solid understanding of overall safety procedures. This ensures that everyone is well-informed and knows the difference between appropriate and inappropriate use of the items. As such, employers also need to be able to supply their workers with that very information to reduce the risk of an incident. Though these procedures can also vary based on the company you’re working for, some of the overarching safety procedures include:
Inspect Your Tools Before and After Use
To properly gauge the usability of a tool, it’s important that you inspect it before you go to use it for a job. Failing to do so can, unfortunately, result in serious bodily harm to yourself or others should it malfunction. As such, you must record if the tool sustains damage on the job or if you notice damage before use to maximize safety. This process is true for other equipment items, as you’ll also need to inspect your fall protection equipment and ensure that it can support you.
Only Use Quality Equipment
If you notice something wrong with a tool before you go to use it, it’s crucial that you don’t ignore the problem. Doing so raises the risk that something will malfunction while it’s in use and hurt someone. Along with your inspection of the tool itself, you should also check whether all its parts are secure and that nothing is loose. This is also important when going to purchase new tools. You need to be sure it’s the proper quality and strength to get the job done effectively.
Maintain a Safe Area Around the Tool
While you’re using the tool, always be sure to maintain an effective distance from other people or objects to avoid losing control of what you’re doing. Handling power tools requires a lot of focus and physical stability to use them correctly. As such, if external factors suddenly surprise or startle you, you can lose your focus and potentially put others in danger as a result. Due to this, be sure to designate a specific area whenever you’re using a power tool to ensure your coworkers know not to come near.
Keep the Work Area Clean and Tidy
A clean working environment is the key to maintaining the safety of any job site, but this is especially the case when you and your team are handling power tools. The more clutter that’s present in an environment, the higher chance there is of someone tripping and injuring themselves on their surroundings. Adding a running blade or drill to the mix makes for an additional level of danger and risk. As such, it’s important that you clean up any clutter around your workspace and manage the chords of your tools to keep your peers from tripping.
Additional Safety Tips
Simply adhering to your company’s safety procedures isn’t always enough to prevent an accident. As such, it’s also important that you adopt additional safety practices to further protect yourself. These are two additional tips for handling power tools on the job.
Don’t Alter Your Tools
Your professional power tools can handle the stressful conditions of various jobs. However, changing the way they look or perform can severely weaken the tool and make it more susceptible to malfunction. Due to this, it’s important you don’t alter your tools in any way to preserve its effectiveness and ensure that it lasts for several future tasks to come.
Consider Getting Retrained
With technology continuously changing and evolving, even the most experienced professionals need to learn something new on occasion. These frequent changes require workers to continue learning about their field to properly use modern instruments effectively. As such, many employers offer additional training options to catch up on recent tool changes and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
At Midwest Unlimited, we sell the finest power tools to ensure you can make the most of your time on the clock. Our chorded and battery-powered models are long-lasting and can withstand the tough conditions you’re dealing with on the job. We can also supply you with quality tower climber and linemen bags to give you a secure way to carry your tools while climbing.