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Choosing safer hand tools in construction: hazard alert.

The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Silver Spring, MD: The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 2001 Sep; :1-2
Construction workers use many hand tools, such as, hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, and tin snips, plus power tools, such as electric drills and screwguns. The Hazards: If you use hand tools over and over every day, you can injure your hand, wrist, or arm. You can be injured if you must hold on tight for a long time or keep twisting the handle, for instance. You can get carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, white finger, tendonitis, and other painful problems. They can force you to quit construction work. Protect Yourself : You can buy "safer" hand tools. Then, you can use them better. When You Buy a Hand Tool: Look for a tool that needs less force to use it. Look for a tool that is balanced and does not tip forward or back when you hold it. Look at the handle: It should be comfortable in your hand, not too thick or too small or too short; It should not conduct electricity or heat (work with a cold handle can make some repetitive stress injuries worse); It should not hurt your hand when you hold tight (you do not want sharp edges or finger grooves or ridges); If you can, get a non-slip handle; If you can, get a handle with a surface made of soft materials like rubber or plastic (you may want to get a special plastic or rubber sleeve or a custom grip kit for the handle; If you need to use a lot of force on the job, the handle should be long enough for your whole hand - not just your fingers (you want a power grip, not just a pinch grip); You can use a long handle as a lever to add to the force of a tool and save your hand; If you wear gloves when you use a tool, you may need a thicker handle (gloves can make it harder to hold onto a tool); For some tools, the handle should have a spring return; this re-opens the tool for you after you use it (the spring return saves wear and tear on your finger muscles); A bent angle or adjustable angle on some tools can help you keep your wrist straight on some jobs (you may need different tools on different jobs so you can keep your wrist straight - for instance, on walls, a pistol grip is better.
Construction; Construction-equipment; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Construction-workers; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-environment; Work-practices; Worker-health; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Hazards; Accident-potential; Hand-tools; Hand-injuries; Hand-protection; Tools; Ergonomics; Equipment-design; Arm-injuries; Repetitive-work; Human-factors-engineering; Muscle-stress; Muscle-tension; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Cumulative-trauma; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Vibration-effects; Power-tools; Safety-engineering; Force
Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO: CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U02-CCU-310982; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U02-CCU-312014
Priority Area
Source Name
Choosing Safer Hand Tools in Construction: Hazard Alert
Performing Organization
Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division