Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
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Health and Safety: Teaching Tools

Powered Hand Tools

MSDSs and Labels

INSPECT tools, power cords, and electrical fittings for damage prior to each use. Repair or replace damaged equipment.
DO NOT WEAR gloves, or have loose clothing hair or jewelry when working with or near revolving power tools or machinery.


SWITCH tools OFF before connecting them to a power supply.
DISCONNECT power supply before making adjustments.
ENSURE tools are properly grounded or double-insulated. The grounded tool must have an approved 3-wire cord with a 3-prong plug. This plug should be plugged into a properly grounded 3-pole outlet.
TEST all tools for effective grounding with a continuity tester or a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) before use.
DO NOT BYPASS the on/off switch and operate the tool by connecting and disconnecting the power cord.
DO NOT USE electric tools in wet conditions or damp locations unless tools are connected to a GFCI.
DO NOT CLEAN tools with flammable or toxic solvents.
DO NOT OPERATE tools in an area containing explosive vapours or gases.

Power Cords

KEEP power cords clear of tools during use.
SUSPEND power cords over aisles or work areas to eliminate stumbling or tripping hazards.
REPLACE open front plugs with dead front plugs. Dead front plugs are sealed and present less danger of shock or short circuit.
INSPECT cords and plugs - Check power cords and plugs daily. Discard if worn or damaged. Have any cord that feels more than comfortably warm checked by an electrician.
ELIMINATE octopus connections - do not plug several power cords into one outlet.
PULL the plug, not the cord - do not disconnect a power supply by pulling or jerking cord from the outlet. Pulling the cord causes wear and may cause a shock.
USE extension cords only to temporarily supply power to an area that does not have a power outlet.
KEEP power cords away from heat, water and oil. They can damage the insulation and cause a shock.
DO NOT USE light duty power cords.
DO NOT TIE power cords in knots. Knots can cause short circuits and shocks. Loop the cords or use a twist lock plug.
DO NOT CARRY electrical tools by the power cord.
DO NOT ALLOW vehicles to pass over unprotected power cords. Cords should be put in conduit or protected by placing planks alongside them
NEVER BREAK OFF the third prong on a plug - Replace broken 3-prong plugs and make sure the third prong is properly grounded.
NEVER USE extension cords as permanent wiring.