Power Tools

Power-operated hand tools are common at most workplaces. Injuries can be prevented by always making sure that the tools are kept in proper working condition, inspected before being used, and repaired or replaced as needed.

Sections 80 to 82 of the General Regulation 91-191 outline the general duties of an owner , employer and user of any tool. In general, it is important that tools are:

  • Of good quality material appropriate for the intended use.
  • Inspected before being used.
  • Repaired or replaced if necessary.
  • Kept in proper working condition.
  • Repaired only by a competent person.
  • Equipped with devices to ensure a secure hand grip.
  • A non-sparking type, where needed.
  • Stored properly when not in use.
  • Connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) when used in wet and damp locations.
  • Only used with approved extension cords that have the proper wire size (gauge) for the length of cord and power requirements of the tool. For outdoor work, use extension cords marked "W-A" or "W".

In addition, employers must also develop and implement procedures for safely supplying tools and materials to employees who work in hazardous places.

As an employer, you must ensure that:

  • A portable power-operated tool is cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • An electric portable power-operated hand tool is double insulated or bonded to ground, or is equipped with a double insulated portable ground fault circuit interrupter.
  • Fittings and couplings used meet the intended use and manufacturer's specifications.
  • A shut-off is readily (easily) accessible to the user of the tool.
  • Lines and hoses for any tool (hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical or electrical) do not run across aisles, travel ways or work areas that would create a hazard to employees.
  • Employees wear the proper personal protective equipment.
  • When using a grinder, that the maximum number of revolutions per minute of a grinder output shaft is identified and the maximum number of revolutions per minute for the abrasive wheel is identified on the wheel.
  • That an abrasive wheel is checked for flaws before installation, and is fitted with a protective hood of sufficient strength and mounted in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

Users of tools must:

  • Be competent in the safe handling and use of the tool.
  • Only use tools for the purpose they were designed for.
  • Inspect the tool before using it.
  • Not use a defective tool.
  • Report any defects to your employer.
  • Keep the tool in proper working order.
  • Store the tool safely when not in use.
  • Use a holding device to hold a tool.
  • Not leave tools on floors, passageways, stairways or elevations.
  • Not point any tool that ejects a pin, nail or other item toward anybody.
  • Always wear the required personal protective equipment.
  • Not run lines and hoses for any tool (hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical or electrical) across aisles, travel ways, or work areas that would create a hazard.
  • Keep guards in place when using the tool.
  • Disconnect the power source before changing accessories on the tool.
  • Hold the end of the tool firmly when starting the motor to prevent flexible shaft tools from whipping.
  • When operating a grinder, run the wheel at full operating speed before applying any work to an abrasive wheel.
  • Not operate the abrasive wheel at a speed in excess of the speed set out by the manufacturer's specifications.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part XVI MECHANICAL SAFETY

Section 244 Abrasive Wheels and Grinders

244. (1) An employer shall ensure that the maximum number of revolutions per minute

(a) of an abrasive wheel, as recommended for safe use in the manufacturer's specifications, is identified on the wheel, and

(b) of a grinder output shaft is identified on the grinder.

(2) An employer shall ensure that an abrasive wheel is

(a) checked for flaws before installation,

(b) fitted with a protective hood of sufficient strength to contain fragments of ruptured wheels, and

(c) mounted in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

(3) An employer shall ensure that a tool rest is mounted on a bench grinder as close as is safely possible to the abrasive wheel.

(4) Before applying any work to an abrasive wheel, an employee shall run the wheel at full operating speed in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

(5) An employee shall not

(a) operate an abrasive wheel at a speed in excess of the speed set out in the manufacturer's specifications,

(b) do grinding on the side of an abrasive wheel unless the wheel has been designed for that purpose, or

(c) adjust a tool rest while the abrasive wheel is in motion.

Part IX TOOLS

Section 81 General Duties of an Employer

81. An employer shall ensure that

(a) employees are competent in the safe handling and use of tools,

(b) employees are instructed to use tools only for the specific purposes for which they are designed, and

(c) procedures are implemented for safely supplying tools and materials to employees located in hazardous places.

Section 83 Portable Power-Operated Hand Tools

83. An employer shall ensure that

(a) a portable power-operated hand tool is cleaned with a nonflammable, non-toxic solvent or according to the manufacturer's specifications,

(b) an electric portable power-operated hand tool

(i) is double insulated or bonded to ground or where it is not double insulated and it is not practical to bond to ground, is equipped with a double insulated portable ground fault circuit interrupter of the class A type, and

(ii) is tested for the effectiveness of the double insulation or bonding to ground before each use by a continuity tester or ground fault circuit interrupter,

(c) fittings and couplings appropriate for the intended use and meeting the manufacturer's specifications are used on all hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and electrical lines and hoses for a portable power-operated hand tool, and

(d) a shut-off that is readily accessible to the user of the tool is installed on all hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and electrical lines and hoses for a portable power-operated hand tool.

Section 84

84. (1) An employer shall ensure that hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and electrical lines and hoses for portable power-operated hand tools are not run across aisles, travelways or work areas so as to create a hazard to employees.

(2) An employee shall not run the hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and electric lines and hoses for portable power-operated hand tools across aisles, travelways or work areas so as to create a hazard to other employees.

(3) This section does not apply where a firefighter is engaged in structural fire-fighting or rescue.

[N.B. Reg. 97-121, s. 16]

Section 85

85. An employee who uses a portable power-operated hand tool shall

(a) keep guards on the tool in place while using it,

(b) disconnect the source of power before changing accessories on the tool, and

(c) where the tool has a flexible shaft, hold the end of the tool firmly when starting its motor to prevent whipping.