Not everyone doing construction work is able to own all the tools needed for the job! Often, we have to resort to hiring tools – and we need to consider a few safety tips both at the Tool Hire Warehouse and when Using these Tools in Construction.
What are the Major Hazards?
Tools and equipment available for hire, such as welders, drills, chain saws, sanders etc. can be hazardous if used incorrectly.
Managing the Risks:
- Ask what the tool or equipment is needed for.
- Ensure that the safe use of all equipment is demonstrated to the persons hiring the equipment – train staff to enable them to do this.
- Provide written instructions (including safety information) to be handed out with the equipment.
- Ensure the appropriate personal protective equipment e.g. goggles, ear defenders, masks, etc. is provided with the equipment.
- Fit all electrical equipment to be used outdoors with plugs which have 30mA Residual Current Devices (RCD).
Hire equipment will suffer a considerable amount of wear and tear, e.g. damage to plugs, insulation, guards, blades, etc. which can result in the equipment becoming dangerous to use.
- All equipment should be inspected for damage prior to hire and on return – written check lists can be used and kept for record purposes.
- Damaged equipment should be taken out of service immediately.
- Arrangements should be put in place for the regular maintenance and servicing of equipment. Again accurate records should be kept.
Lifting and moving heavy, bulky items such as pressure washers, kango hammers or generators can cause back injuries or muscular strain.
- Avoid lifting items which are too heavy or bulky – use a trolley or castors where possible.
- Train staff in proper lifting techniques.
Incorrectly stacked goods may fall injuring staff below, or overloading shelves/racks may lead to collapse. Persons climbing on racking may fall and injure themselves.
- Racking should be capable of supporting intended loads and be properly fixed e.g. bolted to the floor.
- Find out the maximum safe working load of all racking systems and mark it on the racking. Protect the racking from mechanical damage from fork lift trucks etc.
- Goods should be properly stacked with the heaviest at the bottom if possible.
- Proper safety ladders should be used and training on their use provided. No one should be permitted to climb on racking.
Slips, trips and falls
Uneven, slippery or obstructed floor surfaces and trailing cables may lead to accidents and injury.
- Keep passageways, delivery areas and stairs clear.
- Clean up spillages immediately and display warning of wet surfaces.
- Fasten cables securely to the floor or re-route overhead if possible.
Obstructed exit routes, for example by stock and or accumulations of packaging can prevent escape and provide fuel for fires.
- Clearly mark escape routes e.g. using painted lines and signs.
- Keep all escape routes and fire exits clear, and make regular checks to ensure that this is the case
- Clear rubbish regularly
Fuel and some chemicals used for cleaning and maintaining hire equipment can be harmful. Exposure to them through use or through accidental spillages or leaks can cause respiratory problems, dermatitis or chemical burns.
- Store all hazardous chemicals in their original containers.
- Obtain information on all substances stored and used in the premises from manufacturer’s hazard data sheets.
- Devise a procedure for handling damaged containers and for cleaning up spillages and leaked substances.
- Provide staff with training, gloves etc. to enable cleaning chemicals to be used safely.
The use of equipment such as forklift trucks and cranes can be particularly hazardous causing crushing and amputation injuries.
- Adopt safe systems of work e.g. procedures for training employees for traffic and pedestrian movement and for controlling the maintenance of trucks, cranes etc.
- Keys should be kept in a secure place when the equipment is not in use and should only be issued to authorised operators.
- All equipment should be marked with the safe working load (SWL) and the SWL should never be exceeded.
The collection and return of equipment can involve the use of a wide range of vehicles including cars, trailers, delivery lorries and fork lift trucks and can account for a large proportion of accidents in such premises.
- Devise a safe system of traffic movement to include methods and procedures for arrival, reception, unloading, loading and movement within the premises.
- Display clear information/warning signs setting out these procedures.
- Issue information/instruction cards to visiting drivers and members of the public.
- Devise one way traffic systems.
- Provide sufficient designated parking areas to allow the segregration of private cars from goods traffic.
- Restrict access to dangerous areas such as loading/unloading bays.
Accidents can occur if the vision of the driver is obstructed, or the equipment shifts or falls from the vehicle, or if the vehicle is unsuitable to carry the equipment.
- No vehicle should be loaded beyond its rated capacity or beyond the legal limit of gross weight.
- If a trailer is being used, always check the floor to ensure that it is safe to load.
- Equipment should be properly secured or arranged so that it is safe for both transportation and unloading.
Preventing Accidents when using Hired Tools
Even if you’re experienced in the use of power tools, safety precautions are essential to prevent accidents. If you’ve opted for tools for rental it is your responsibility – and not that of the tool rental company – to ensure that you follow correct operating procedures. These safety tips will help you avoid unnecessary accidents:
Use the right tool for the job
Don’t try to use a tool not suited to the work you are doing. It is extremely affordable to hire a new tool for a specific task, so contact Talisman Plant and Tool Hire for access to a wide range of tools for rental.
Read the instructions
Always read a tool’s instruction manual. Different models of power tools may require different safety precautions that you need to be aware of.
Dress with protection in mind
Wear safety goggles, hard hats and other protective clothing where appropriate. Avoid anything that ‘hangs down’ such as jewellery or scarves that can become tangled. Long hair should be tied back.
Cool down before refuelling
If you’re using a petrol-powered tool, allow the engine to cool down thoroughly before refuelling. Accidentally spilling flammable petrol onto a hot engine is a recipe for disaster.
Careful when carrying tools
To prevent accidentally turning a tool on, don’t carry power tools and equipment with your fingers near the power switch.
Don’t yank the cord
When unplugging electrical power tools, avoid damaging the wires by unplugging carefully, and not ‘yanking’.
Switch off and unplug
Make sure power tools are switched off and unplugged when not in use, and stored appropriately. Similarly, petrol operated tools should be drained of all fuel before storage.
Keep out of reach of children
When not in use, all tools should be stored well away from where children can reach them.
A word of Recognition to:
- Health & Safety in Retail and Wholesale Warehouses
- Talisman Tool Hire