Workers should be trained on safe procedures for working with tools. However, safe practices when carrying or storing those tools may not be thoroughly covered. Tools can pose a safety risk when they are misplaced or improperly handled by workers. The National Safety Council offers the following tips for safe handling of tools when they are not in use:
- Workers should never carry tools up or down a ladder in a way that inhibits grip. Ideally, tools should be hoisted up and down using a bucket or strong bag, rather than being carried by the worker.
- Tools should always be carefully handed from one employee to another – never tossed. Pointed tools should be passed either in their carrier or with the handles toward the receiver.
- Workers carrying large tools or equipment on their shoulders should pay close attention to clearances when turning and maneuvering around the workplace.
- Pointed tools such as chisels and screwdrivers should never be carried in a worker’s pocket. Acceptable ways to carry them include in a toolbox, pointed down in a tool belt or pocket tool pouch, or in the hand with the tip always held away from the body.
- Tools should always be put away when not in use. Leaving tools lying around on an elevated structure such as a scaffold poses a significant risk to workers below. This risk increases in areas with heavy vibration.