Handle portable power tools safely
Health and safety - part 3
The safe handling of portable power tools is the responsibility of both the employer and the person using it. However, the employer should ensure that all power tools are in a good working condition at all times and safe for use by employees.
Before using power tools, an employee must perform a visual inspection to ensure that it is safe for use. The user must also ensure that all moving parts are protected. Any unsafe electrical connections should be reported to a supervisor or the employer immediately.
If a power tool overheats while being used, it must be switched off immediately and removed from the power source. The employee/user must report the faulty tool immediately.
Electrical cords should also be checked before being used. Unsafe joints in cables or unsafe plugs should not be tolerated. An electrical cord should be unrolled before use to ensure that it does not overheat when used.
To ensure that employees are aware of what kind of protective clothing should be worn when working with electrical equipment, safety signs should be affixed in the workplace. Protection for hands, eyes and ears, safety shoes, welding gloves and a welding apron should be worn when working with power tools. Protected clothing should be provided to employees free of charge.
The employer must provide the employees with an inspection list to ensure that all portable power tools are inspected on a monthly basis. All portable power tools must also be included in a risk analysis. A safe work procedure should be signed by employees who use power tools.
Publication: September 2022
Author: CHARL SAAYMAN, HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSULTANT AT MEGA HEALTH AND SAFETY