Proper Use & Maintenance
Tool Use, Maintenance & Storage
The use of safety hand tools should be a key component of
most industrial safety programs. An understanding of the
hand tools intended use and environment, combined with
proper tool selection, maintenance and storage, will greatly
reduce the risk of explosion and fire.
Ampco offers the following common-sense guidelines for Tool
Use, Maintenance and Storage, consistent with OSHA General
Industry Standard 1910.242 and HTI recommendations:
- Keep non-sparking tools clean and free from ferrous or
other contaminants, which may impair the non-sparking properties.
- Do not use non-sparking hand tools in direct contact
with acetylene, due to the possible formation of explosive
acetylides, especially in the presence of moisture.
- During normal use, all hammers and chisels will progressively
develop some damage to the striking faces of hammers or
the cutting edge and striking end of chisels. As part of
the normal operating and safety procedures, these tools
should be returned to the workshop, as with steel tools,
to have the faces and heads redressed. This is essential
to prevent eye damage resulting from chips detaching from
the item during use (as supported by OSHA Standards 1910.266
- Do not store hammers and other hand tools fitted with
wooden handles in places where the handles may dry out
and shrink. This will increase the risk of the handle breaking
or the head becoming loose (as supported by OSHA Standard
- Avoid overstrikes, causing damage to the shaft. Supply
replacement handles are often available from the manufacturer,
and should be fitted by a competent operator, using an
approved method of fitting and paying particular attention
to the fitting of the wedges (as supported by OSHA Standard
- Fiberglass handles can offer advantages over wooden handles
in terms of breaking stress and tolerance for adverse environmental
conditions. Fiberglass shafts fail progressively, rather
than catastrophically, reducing the risk of sudden failure,
injury or damage.
- When selecting a wrench, the jaw opening should have
a close and tight fit on the head of the nut or bolt to
which it is being applied. This is especially true with
non-sparking tools, as they typically do not have the hardness
of steel tools.
- Tools are designed for specific use. As with any tool,
additional torque should not be applied through the use
of "cheater bars." In addition to the probability
that the tool will be damaged, this is a dangerous practice
for the safety of the operator. Wrenches should not be
used as levers; nor screwdrivers as chisels, and so on.
- The accepted standards of safety and maintenance for
common steel hand tools must also be adopted with non-sparking
hand tools, in addition to any specific recommendations
resulting from the alloys used.
- When sharpening non-spark safety tools, follow normal
safety procedures, such as the provision of eye and face
protection, adequate extraction and dust collecting facilities.
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