Advanced Photon Source

An Office of Science National User Facility

APS Guideline for Hand Tool and Portable Power Tool Usage

Introduction

CAT/XSD recognizes that the misuse and improper maintenance of hand tools and portable power tools cause a significant number of injuries to even "experienced" workers. Consequently, CAT/XSD has adopted the following policies and procedures to minimize the hazards associated with the use of such equipment at the APS.

These guidelines apply to all use of hand tools and portable power tools by CAT/XSD personnel while performing maintenance or installation activities at the APS. Although CAT/XSD feels that most of the guidelines also apply to tool usage during experimental activities, CAT/XSD will not require that short-term users complete the training described below.

Using Tools Safely
  • If you have not had formal training in the use of common tools attend ANL ESH141 training. CAT/XSD supervisors or other capable persons designated by supervisors will also demonstrate correct tool usage during on-the-job training. [APS can provide additional information adaptable to most training needs for air-powered tools.]
  • Plan each job well in advance and ensure that the proper tools are available; give consideration to special tools that would provide for greater efficiency and safety.
  • Use proper personal protective equipment.
  • Use caution when wearing gloves while operating power tools.
  • Pull back long hair in a band or a cap to keep it from getting caught in tools.
  • Do not wear jewelry when using portable power tools.
  • Store tools in appropriate storage facilities when not in use.
  • Inspect all portable power tools upon receipt and at least semi-annually thereafter using the criteria given in Table 1. If a tool is defective, remove it from service immediately and repair or discard it. If it passes the inspection and tests, label it with the inspection date [as indicated in Table 2 ] [with commercially available foil labels designed for this purpose].
  • Never use a tool without first inspecting it as indicated in Table 1.
  • Power tools must be either three-wire grounded or double-insulated and listed by Underwriters’ Laboratories or another recognized listing agency.
  • Always plug cord-connected, hand-held electric tools into GFCI-protected receptacles.
  • Portable electric tools used in the vicinity of sinks and wet environments must comply with the grounding requirements of Title 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart S, and they must be powered from a GFCI-protected circuit.
  • When ordering new corded electric portable power tools, verify that each one ordered is three-wire grounded or double-insulated, and listed by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or another nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL).  See ESH-9.3, Electrical Safety Program - Electrical Systems and Equipment.
    • Recommendation: Order double-insulated tools.
    • Non-NRTL power tools must be inspected by a Designated Electrical Equipment Inspector before use.
TABLE 1. Power Tool Inspection/Testing Criteria and Inspection Frequency

 

Criteria for Removing a Tool from Service

Inspection Frequency

Before and During Use

Semi-Annual Testing and Inspection

Cracking, chafing, wear, or other signs of faulty power cord insulation

X

X

Evidence of faulty grounding conductor

X

X

Excessive resistance between tool case and ground connector prong  

X

Cracked plug or receptacle housing

X

X

Bent or missing plug or connector prongs

X

X

Dead front plug, receptacle, or connector

X

X

Missing, bent, or otherwise abused switch

X

X

Improperly functioning trigger lock on switch

X

X

Out-of-date semi-annual inspection tape (tag)

X

X

Signs of overheating or excessive sparking

X

X

Insulation resistance (get meter from XFD ES&H Coordinator)  

X

Dull, chipped, or broken blades

X

X

Malfunctioning guards

X

X

 
References

The primary references for this set of guidelines are the 10th Edition of the National Safety Council’s Accident Prevention Manual and the ANL ESH Manual and LMS-PROC-153 "Safe Use of Hand Tools and Portable Power Tools.

Reviewed and Updated: September 15, 2016