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Hand and power tools: use safe, be safe

This article talks about current status of hand and power tools industry and also gives some precaution tips for safety
 Hand and power tools are a common part of our everyday lives and are present in nearly every industry. These tools help us to easily perform tasks that otherwise would be difficult or impossible. However, using these tools properly with given instructions and precautions is very important in order to avoid some hazards or accidents.
Current Indian market It is observed that today’s Indian tools market is highly fragmented and largely unorganised. It thrives on supply chain inefficiencies and lacks customer service. In fact, OES (Original Equipment Suppliers) caters to less than 5 per cent of after-market through dealers; rest of the customers are serviced through small distributors and others. Customer dissatisfaction is largely felt in quality, technology, reliability in service life and tools safety.
“Organised workshop segment is a major user of tools and is expected to grow significantly due to entry of new players in commercial vehicles and passenger vehicle segments as well as existing OEMs adding new segments,” says Rajesh Chowdhry, GM Sales-India, Groz Engineering Tools (P) Ltd.He further adds, “Besides, infrastructure gaps in B and C Class cities would continue to drive construction activity. Ever growing middle class and aspirations are expected to drive vehicle sales in most of the segments.”The recent changes in fuel prices decontrol would further fuel the vehicles sales and all of the factors would contribute to double digit growth of the tools market in India. There are also trends like stricter environmental laws on affluent / waste oil treatment and recycling. This is driving modernisation of workshops and need for quicker vehicle service, ultimately leading to demand for quality tools.
Safety firstHand and power tools are such a common part of our lives that it is difficult to remember that they may pose hazards. All tools are manufactured with safety in mind but, tragically, a serious accident often occurs before steps are taken to search out and avoid or eliminate tool-related hazards. These simple tools can be hazardous and have the potential for causing severe injuries when used or maintained improperly. Special attention toward hand and power tool safety is necessary in order to reduce or eliminate these hazards.Hand and power tool hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, long shoring, and the construction industry.“End-user training and awareness on tool safety is certainly need of the hour,” believes Mr Chowdhry. “Groz is a pioneering this effort by organising free service camps in industries as well as automotive workshop clusters throughout the country.”
In the process of removing or avoiding the hazards, workers must learn to recognise the hazards associated with the different types of tools and the safety precautions necessary to prevent those hazards. It is clear that safety measures must be taken while using hand and power tools.
General safety precautionsEmployees who use hand and power tools and who are exposed to the hazards of falling, flying, abrasive and splashing objects, or exposed to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapours, or gases must be provided with the particular personal equipment necessary to protect them from the hazard.
All hazards involved in the use of power tools can be prevented by following five basic safety rules:• Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance.• Use the right tool for the job.• Examine each tool for damage before use.• Operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.• Provide and use the proper protective equipment.Employees and employers have a responsibility to work together to establish safe working procedures. If a hazardous situation is encountered, it should be brought to the attention of the proper individual immediately.
Hand tools safetyHand tools are non-powered. They include anything from axes to wrenches. The greatest hazards posed by hand tools result from misuse and improper maintenance.Workers should be cautioned that saw blades, knives, or other tools have to be directed away from aisle areas and other workers working in close proximity. Knives and scissors must be sharp. Dull tools can be more hazardous than sharp ones.
Appropriate personal protective equipment, e.g., safety goggles, gloves, etc., should be worn due to hazards that may be encountered while using portable power tools and hand tools. Safety requires that floors be kept as clean and dry as possible to prevent accidental slips with or around dangerous hand tools.
Around flammable substances, sparks produced by iron and steel hand tools can be a dangerous ignition source. Where this hazard exists, spark-resistant tools made from brass, plastic, aluminium, or wood will provide for safety.
Power tool precautionsPower tools can be hazardous when improperly used. There are several types of power tools, based on the power source they use: electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, and powder-actuated.
Employees should be trained in the use of all tools – not just power tools. They should understand the potential hazards as well as the safety precautions to prevent those hazards from occurring. Power tool users should avoid accidental starting. The worker should not hold a finger on the switch button while carrying a plugged-in tool. The proper apparel should be worn. Loose clothing, ties, or jewellery can be caught in moving parts.
Also tools should be maintained with care. They should be kept sharp and clean for the best performance. Instructions in the user’s manual must be followed for lubricating and changing accessories. All portable electric tools that are damaged shall be removed from use and tagged ‘Do Not Use’.
Some more precautions to be observed by power tool users are:• Never carry a tool by the cord or hose• Never yank the cord or the hose to disconnect it from the receptacle• Keep cords and hoses away from heat, oil, and sharp edges• Disconnect tools when not in use, before servicing, and when changing accessories such as blades, bits and cutters• All observers should be kept at a safe distance away from the work area• Secure work with clamps or a vise, freeing both hands to operate the tool• Be sure to keep good footing and maintain good balance.
Mr Chowdhry further helps to understand why these are safety hammers as he informs about their following features: • Head never gets dislodged from the handle. Providing protection to the worker using the hammer as also to the co-worker working along side• Vibration free (shock absorbent handle)• Electrical shock resistance• Indestructible handle technology• Slip resistant  These hammers have several applications in many industries like construction, rail, road, tyre, ship building and welding etc. In addition, they find their applications in following sectors as well: • Open cast as well as underground mining• Heavy metal work industry• Agriculture co-operatives• Automotive fleet maintenance companies (heavy automotives)• Tiling or brick layer industry• Demolition• On-shore and off-shore drilling

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