1. Limit vibrations and noise
2. Check that the tools have appropriate safety features:
- Grinders – Key safety features on these tools are overspeed shut-off functions, autobalancers and guards. The first – overspeed shut off – prevents a grinding wheel from speeding faster that it should, and therefore it reduces the risk of disc burst which would ultimately injure the user. Secondly, autobalancers stabilize a tool, greatly reducing vibration. Finally, guards protect the operator from any shrapnel in case the disc breaks apart.
- Impact wrenches – An important feature to consider is the torque limited function which enables torque level control, mainly on tightening applications where torque control is essential, such as tire changing or shipyards. Tools whose torque is limited by an air flow modification have lower vibration than those with a mechanical modification.
3. Perform regular maintenance
Regular servicing is vital when ensuring the safety of equipment as a tool that is well looked after and properly maintained will have less risk of failing. Maintenance should be carried out according to the tool’s manual, for example, components that wear most frequently and therefore need maintaining in grinders are the blades and bevel gears. Blades should be inspected every 500 hours, and the interval for bevel gears is every 1,000 – 2,000 hours depending on the tool.
4. Know how to use the tools safely
5. Wear appropriate PPE
6. Make sure the environment is safe
Consider the environment surrounding the job and ensure you take appropriate precautions. For example, is it a confined space, or is the job at height? Grinding can create fine dust particles, which if inhaled can cause health and safety issues for the operator. Therefore, always grind in a well-ventilated space. Also, always ensure that the workpiece is secure, and you have a stable operating position . For instance, if you are working at height, remember to implement the best practices to help preventing tool drops.
7. Ensure you have a good air line set up
Think about the whole tool system including the air line. All pneumatic tools require clean, lubricated air and a dynamic pressure of 90 PSI (6.3 bar) to work safely. If the pressure is any higher than this, it could negatively affect the tools’ lifespan and risk operator’s safety. Air pressure can be adjusted with an FRL (filter, regulator, lubricator) so it is important to include one in the air system near the tool. You can improve your installation safety by reading our air line installation guide and self-diagnostic check list. Also, you can enhance the safety of your air line by adding an air fuse to its set up, this will prevent you from hose whiplash.
By considering these seven points you will improve safety associated with using tools in the workplace, therefore protecting operators. An additional benefit to these responsible practices is that you will improve efficiency too!