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Course 810 - Hand and Power Tool Safety

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier
power tools

Electrical Powered Tools


The invention of portable electric power tools benefits industry and workers in almost every field. Greater speed, increased production, reduced effort to perform tasks, and—in most cases—greater accuracy are the advantages these tools provide.

However, portable power tools also have hazards. Serious injuries can occur if you do not take precautions.

What are Electrical Power Tools?


Electric power tools include grinders, drill presses, band saws, jig saws, circular saws, belt sanders, electric drills, table saws, radial arm saws, jointers, and paint spray guns.

Employees using electric tools must be aware of several dangers. Among the most serious hazards are electrical burns, shock, and heart failure.

Double-Insulated Tools

double insulated

Hand-held tools manufactured with non-metallic cases are called double-insulated. If approved, they do not require grounding under the National Electrical Code. Although this design method reduces the risk of grounding deficiencies, a shock hazard can still exist.

Double-insulated tools are often used in areas where there is considerable moisture or wetness. Although the user is insulated from the electrical wiring components, water can still enter the tool's housing. Ordinary water is a conductor of electricity. If water contacts the energized parts inside the housing, it provides a path to the outside, bypassing the double insulation. When a person holding a hand tool under these conditions contacts another conductive surface, an electric shock occurs.

If a power tool, even when double-insulated, is dropped into water, the employee should resist the initial human response to grab for the equipment without first disconnecting the power source.

Best Practices

When using electrical power tools, the general practices discussed below are important and should be followed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Clothing

  • Wear PPE that is proper for the type of work being done.
  • Do not wear gloves when operating a grinder.
  • Do not wear unbuttoned or loose-fitting clothes.
  • Don not wear jewelry that can get caught in moving parts.
  • Do not wear flammable clothes.
  • Wear safety-toed shoes to protect your feet and toes.
  • Protect your eyes, face, head, and scalp. Only wear ANSI-approved industrial-quality safety glasses or safety shields.
  • Pull back long hair in a band or a cap to keep it from getting caught in moving parts.
  • If necessary, use a proper dust, half-face or full-face respirator.


using tool
  • Avoid distractions. Keep your mind on your work. Talking, running, pushing, and scuffling can lead to accidents.
  • Work only at operating speed. Do not use a power tool before it has reached operating speed or while it is coming to a stop.
  • Do not force a tool by applying too much pressure.
  • Use both hands. Use both hands to hold and guide material being sawed.
  • Stand in a safe location. Position yourself to avoid being hit if the tool kicks back.
  • Do not allow wires, cords, or other objects that could get caught in equipment.
  • Do not stand directly behind the equipment.
  • Keep safety guards in place and proper working order.
  • Do not use blades that are cracked or kinked.
  • Keep saw blades sharp and set properly.
  • Know the switch location so you can turn off the tool quickly.

Before Operation

  • Be familiar with the tool by reading the operator's manual. Know tool applications and limitations before you begin to use it.
  • Do not use tools that are or appear to be in disrepair.
  • Keep the work area clean.
  • Keep the floor free of scraps and oil.
  • Remove nails, staples, and loose knots before sawing.
  • Protect the electrical cord. Keep the power cord out of the line of the cut. Serious shock may result if the cord is cut.
  • Make sure there is proper ventilation when using pneumatic tools producing hazardous vapors in confined areas.

After Operation

  • Never force an object into moving parts to stop the machine.
  • Do not abruptly stop moving parts. After power has been turned off, allow it to coast to a full stop before laying it down.
  • Do not leave the machine running unattended.
  • Make sure all moving parts have come to a complete stop before making tool adjustments.
  • Always clean power tools and make sure they are in good repair before putting them away.



Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. What is the best type of electrical power tool for use in areas where there is considerable moisture or wetness?

2. What should a worker do if a double-insulated tool is dropped into a puddle of water?

3. You notice a worker is wearing gloves while operating a grinder. What should you tell the worker?

4. You notice a worker placing a circular saw on the ground next to his feet immediately after use. What should you tell the worker?

5. What should you do when using pneumatic tools producing hazardous vapors in confined areas?

Have a safe day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.