Despite the advent of power tools that do everything from drilling holes to driving
nails, conventional hand tools are still strong sellers. You may have some in your
house, and you might assume they're much safer than their electric brethren.
But don't get overconfident. While hand tools don't pose the same lethal threat as
some power tools, they are still a factor in a number of accidents each year.
Always wear safety goggles. Your eyes are the most vulnerable part of your body when
working with tools.
Dress for safety. Even the most cautious craftsperson or home handyman has to be prepared
for the unexpected. When working with tools and building materials, you should make
sure to wear long sleeves, work gloves, and full-legged canvas trousers or heavy blue
Always pull, rather than push, a wrench for greater control and balance. That way,
if the nut or bolt should suddenly loosen, you're less likely to go flying.
Never try to get more torque from a wrench by using a cheater bar or other device
to extend the leverage. It could slip off suddenly, causing you to lose balance and
Handsaws become dangerous when a user pushes down on the top edge in an effort to
free a saw that gets stuck while cutting wood. Avoid touching the actual blade. It
can be hot from the friction of sawing, and even the non-jagged edge is dangerous.
A screwdriver should fit snugly into the slot of a screw without hanging over the
edge. If, after applying reasonable pressure to loosen a screw, it still won’t turn,
try using a different-sized screwdriver. Applying too much force can strip the screw
or cause the screwdriver to slip, marring the work surface or, worse yet, puncturing
Do your work on a solid surface, such as a workbench. Holding a toaster in your lap
and driving a screwdriver down toward your thigh is just asking to get stabbed.
A common mistake is using a screwdriver as a prying instrument for everything from
opening a paint can to taking down a wall. If excessive pressure is applied to a screwdriver
that does not have the steel shank running through the entire handle, you will be
applying pressure to the weaker handle as well as the shank and the handle could crack
Another no-no: using a screwdriver as a chisel. The metal blade can separate from
the shank or the blade could crack into 2 jagged pieces that go flying.
Pliers can hold a nut or bolt in place, but use a wrench to tighten or loosen. Pliers
tend to slip off suddenly.