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Hand and Power Tool Safety Fact Sheet


Hand and power tools enable employees to apply additional force and energy to accomplish a task. These tools improve efficiency and make better products. Because of the increased force of hand and power tools, the objective of safety with these tools is to themselves and others. Disabilities resulting from misuse of tools or using damaged tools include loss of eyes and vision; puncture wounds from flying chips; severed fingers, tendons, and arteries; broken bones; contusions; infections from puncture wounds; ergonomic stress, as well as many other injuries.

Applicable Regulation

  • 29 CFR 1910.241 - Definitions
  • 29 CFR 1910.242 - Hand and Portable Powered Tools and Equipment.
  • 29 CFR 1910.243 - Guarding of Portable Powered Tools.
  • 29 CFR 1910.244 - Other Portable Tools and Equipment.

Summary of Requirements

  • Each employer shall be responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees, including tools and equipment which may be furnished by employees.
  • Compressed air shall not be used for cleaning purposes except where pressure is reduced to less than 30psi, and then only with safety glasses with side shields.
  • Provide proper personal protective equipment and have employees wear it (e.g. safety glasses, hand and arm protection, hearing protection, etc.)
  • Tools must be equipped with appropriate safety switches (type is dependent on blade shrank or wheel size) and must not be loaded until just prior to the intended firing time (e.g. nail gun).
  • In general, all tools and blades must be in a good condition and have the appropriate guarding. Blades of a fan must be guarded when less than 7 feet off the floor or work level.
  • Use the right tool for the job and keep it in a safe place.
  • Train employees to select the right tools for each job.


  • Before using a tool, the operator shall inspect it to determine that all operating moving parts operate and that is clean.
  • Any tool that is malfunctioning shall be immediately removed from service.
  • Tools shall be inspected at regular intervals and shall be repaired in accordance with the manufacturers' specification.

University Resources

Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk (301) 405-3960
ESSR Fax No.    (301) 314-9294
ESSR Website:

Written 5/98
Reviewed 3/04

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