Hand and Power Tools
Hand and power tools are a common part of our everyday lives and are present in nearly every industry. These tools help us to easily perform tasks that otherwise would be difficult or impossible. However, these simple tools can be hazardous and have the potential for causing severe injuries when used or maintained improperly. Special attention toward hand and power tool safety is necessary in order to reduce or eliminate these hazards.
Hand and power tool hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and the construction industry.
This section highlights OSHA standards, directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to hand and power tools in the workplace.
Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have
State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement
policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are
identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted
different standards applicable to this topic or may have different
Shipyard Employment (29
Marine Terminals (29
Subpart G, Cargo handling gear and equipment other than
Construction Industry (29 CFR
- 1926 Subpart
I, Tools - hand and power
Power-operated hand tools
Abrasive wheels and tools
Jacks-lever and ratchet, screw, and hydraulic
Mechanical power-transmission apparatus
- 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart T -- Commercial Diving Operations.
CPL 02-00-151, (2011, June 13). Provides guidelines for the occupational safety and health standards for commercial diving operations, 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart T.
Operations, Inspection Procedures and Interpretive Guidance
Including Twelve Previously Stayed Provisions. CPL
02-01-022 [CPL 2-1.22], (1996, September 27). Clarifies enforcement policies for the logging
CFR 1910.266), including paragraph (e) "Hand and portable
Operations, Inspection Procedures and Interpretive Guidance.
CPL 02-01-019 [CPL 2-1.19], (1995, March 17). Contains inspection and compliance information
for hand and portable powered tools used in logging operations.
Actuated Fastening Tools. STD 01-13-002 [STD 1-13.2A],
(1985, December 9). Provides specific
interpretation as to when magazine-fed, explosive power operated
hand tools are considered "loaded".
- Search all available directives.
wheels are to be guarded as cutting saws. (1998, June 22).
of insulated hand tools. (1996, July 30).
requesting interpretation of the OSHA electrical standards
as they apply to employees using insulated hand tools.
(1996, May 20).
Canadian Standards Association, a nationally recognized testing
laboratory, marking and double insulated tools. (1995,
of manufactured products intended for use in the workplace.
(1994, December 14).
electric tools need to be tested by a qualified national testing laboratory
and be listed and labeled. (1994, January 28).
of general protective equipment and tools by employees when
working near exposed energized conductors or circuit parts
in the workplace. (1991, December 27).
recognition, regulations and policy of double insulated power
tools. (1985, November 8).
of 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) to Portable Pneumatic Powered Fastener
Tools. (1985, March 25).
that a safety device to automatically cut off the flow of compressed
air applies only to pneumatic power tools. (1983,
tools must be designed and used in accordance with good engineering
practices. (1982, April 8).
of 1910.212 and 1910.242 as applying to hand-type office paper
cutters and sharp edged hand tools. (1976, September
- Search all available standard
Hazards and Solutions
Many workers are unaware of the potential hazards
in their work environment, which makes them more vulnerable to injury.
The following references aid in recognizing and controlling hand
and power tool hazards in the workplace.
Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also
available as a 260 KB
- Hand and Power Tools. OSHA Publication
3080, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 171 KB
32 pages. Includes information on the dangers
of hand and power tools and safety precautions.
Carbon Monoxide Hazards from Small Gasoline Powered Engines.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Workplace Safety and Health Topic.
NIOSH Update: NIOSH Pursues Hand-Vibration Studies to Understand, Address Risks. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (2003, June 3). Announces that NIOSH is pursuing studies to help fill critical research gaps linking vibrating hand tools with worker injuries and point to ways for effectively reducing risks of hand-vibration disorders for employees who use jackhammers, chipping hammers, power drills, and other vibrating tools.
NIOSH Numbered Publications: Hazard Controls . US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH). Published series for wood dust:
Ergonomics: A Guide to Selecting Non-Powered Hand Tools.
Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety &
Health (elcosh), (2004).
Hand/Power Tools. National
Ag Safety Database (NASD). Links to several
informative documents covering machinery safety and hand/power
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also
available as a 588 KB
Industry Safety and Health Outreach Program. OSHA,
(1996, May). Table of contents for OSHA construction
outreach materials. One of the sections contains information on
hand and power tools.
and Power Tools. Discusses that the employer is
responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by
employees but the employees have the responsibility for properly using
and maintaining tools, (2006, May).
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