OHS 1.21 The Safe Use of Tools at Work Comply with the Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations PUWER 1998/PUWER (N.I.) 1999

PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Suitable for the intended use
  • Safe for use
  • Maintained in a safe condition
  • Inspected to ensure it remains safe
  • Only used by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • Accompanied by suitable safety measures, e.g. protective devices, markings, warnings

The following video covers everything you need to know about tool safety under normal conditions. Further training will be provided on Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and the Work At Height Regulations which overlap with aspects of PUWER.

The video will open in full screen. Once you have viewed the video please click the X in the upper right corner of the video to return to the presentation, scroll through the key points below and complete the assessment.

Work Area

  1. Keep your work area clean and well lit. Cluttered benched and dark areas invite accidents.
  2. Do not operate power tools in explosive atmospheres, such as in the presence of flammable liquids, gases or dust. Power tools create sparks which may ignite the dust or fumes.
  3. Keep bystanders, children and visitors away while operating a power tool. Distractions can cause you to lose control.

Electrical Safety

  1. Power tools plugs must match the outlet. Never modify the plug in any way. Do not use any adapter plugs with earthed (grounded) power tools. Unmodified plugs and matching outlets will reduce the risk of electric shock.
  2. Avoid body contact with grounding surfaces such as pipes, radiators, ranges and refrigerators. There is an increased risk of electric shock if your body is grounded.
  3. Do not expose power tools in the rain or wet conditions. Water entering a power tool will increase the risk of electric shock.
  4. Do not abuse the cord. Never use the cord to carry the tools or pull the plug from an outlet. Keep cord away from heat, oil, sharp edges or moving parts. Damaged or entangle cords increase the risk of electric shock. Replace immediately.
  5. If operating a power tool outside in damp conditions is unavoidable use a residual current device (RCD) protected supply. Use of RCD reduces the risk of electric shock.

Personal Safety

  1. Stay alert. Watch what you are doing and use common sense when operating a power tool. Do not use while tired or under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication. A moment of inattention may result in serious personal injury.
  2. Dress Properly. Do not wear loose clothing or jewellery. Contain long hair. Keep your hair, clothing and gloves away from moving equipment.
  3. Avoid accidental starting. Be sure to switch off before plugging in. Carrying tools with your finger on the switch or plugging in tools that have the switch on invites accidents.
  4. Remove adjusting keys or wrenches before turning on the tool. A wrench or a key that is left attached to a rotating part may result in injury.
  5. Do not overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times. Proper footing and balance enables better control of the tool in unexpected situations.
  6. Use personal protective equipment. Always wear eye protection. Dust mask, non-skid safety shoes, hard hat or hearing protection must be used for appropriate conditions. Ordinary eye or sun glasses are NOT eye protection.
  7. If devices are provided for the connection of dust extraction and collection facilities, ensure these are connected and properly used. Use of dust collection can reduce dust related hazards.

Tool Use and Care

  1. Use clamps or other practical ways to secure and support the workpiece. Holding the work by hand or against your body is unstable and may lead to loss of control.
  2. Do not force tool. Use the correct tool for your application. The correct tool will do the job better and safer at the rate for which it was designed.
  3. Do not use the tool if the switch does not turn it on or off. Any tool that cannot be controlled with the switch is dangerous and must be repaired.
  4. Disconnect the plug from the power source before making any adjustments, changing accessories or storing the tool. Such preventative safety measures reduce the risk of starting the tool accidentally.
  5. Store tools out of reach of children and untrained persons. Tools are dangerous in the hands of untrained users.
  6. Maintain power tools. Check for misalignment or binding of moving parts, breakage of parts and any other condition that may affect the power tool’s operation. Many accidents are caused by poorly maintained power tools. If damaged have the power tool repaired before use.
  7. Keep cutting tools sharp and clean. Properly maintained cutting tools with sharp cutting edges are less likely to bind and are easier to control.
  8. Use only accessories and fittings that are recommended by the manufacturer for your model. Accessories that may be suitable for one tool may become hazardous if used on another.

This completes the presentation. Please click the button below and complete the assessment.


Created with images by toolstop - "Makita BKP180 18v cordless planer" • Unsplash - "tools parts work bench" • Phil_Parker - "Reciprocating saw" • DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Safety gear to provide maximum protection from Ebola"

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