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:
As an employer, you must ensure that:
While the employer is ultimately responsible for all the provisions mentioned above, the supervisor has a vital role to play in the safety of their teams. As a supervisor, you must:
Users of tools must:
General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191
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.
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]
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.
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.