What are the ergonomic concerns for selecting powered hand tools?
- Select tools that can be used without bending the wrist. Hand tools should allow the operator to grasp, hold, and use the tool with the wrist held straight.
- Select the tool with the workplace layout and job design in mind. Sometimes a tool is correct for one operation and incorrect for another.
- Use the right tool for the job. Ensure it is the right size and has sufficient power to do the job safely. When there is a choice, select a tool of a low weight.
- Select low-vibrating tools.
- Choose tools with vibration-absorbing handles, like those covered with cork, rubber, plastic or plastic bonded to steel, to reduce hand-arm vibration.
- Choose hand tools that have the centre of gravity within or close to the handle.
- Select tools with rounded and smooth handles that you can grip easily.
- If they are available, choose hand tools with double handles to permit easier holding and better manipulation of the tool.
- Select tools with a trigger strip, rather than a trigger button. This strip will allow you to exert more force over a greater area of the hand that, in turn, will reduce muscle fatigue.
- Ensure that the trigger works easily to reduce the effort needed to operate it.
How can you reduce the ergonomic hazards of working with powered hand tools?
- Ensure that your tool is well maintained and in good repair.
- Frequently-used tools that weigh more than 0.5 kg (1 pound) should be counter-balanced.
- Hold the tool close to the body. Do not overreach.
- Keep good balance and proper footing at all times. This will help operators to control the tool better, especially in response to unexpected situations.
- Rest your hands by putting the tool down when you are not using it.
- Reduce power to the lowest setting that can complete the job safely. This action reduces tool vibration at the source.
- Consider wearing anti-vibration gloves. However, you should not wear thick or heavy gloves if operating the tool requires precise movements. The OSH Answers document Vibration - Measurement, Control and Standards has additional information on anti-vibration gloves.
Document confirmed current on 2007 03 21
Document last updated on 1998 10 30
Copyright ©1997-2013 Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety