Safe Use Of Hand And Power Tools


Workers operating hand and power tools face a wide range of potential hazards throughout the course of any given workday. Without proper training and maintenance, they are at risk of injuries resulting from lacerations, flying objects, harmful dusts, electrical accidents, and more.1

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, hand and power tools combined cause an average of 257,735 injuries each year that require an emergency room visit.2

In order to protect Michigan workers, MIOSHA promulgated safety standards for hand and power tools, General Industry Part 38. Hand and Portable Powered Tools, in 1974 and established responsibilities for employers and employees in Rules 3811 and 3812, respectively:

Rule 3811 – An employer shall do both of the following:

Ensure that an employee has been trained in the use of hand tools and portable powered tools before authorizing their use.

Maintain, or require to be maintained, hand tools and portable powered tools free of defects that could cause injury to an employee.

Rule 3812 – An employee shall not use a tool for other than its designated or approved use.

Now, these rules seem like commonsense, but unfortunately, they are not common practice. So, here are some tips to make it easier:

Review – Print and read MIOSHA’s Part 38. Hand and Portable Powered Tools to become aware of the regulatory requirements for safe hand and powered tool use in your workplaces.

Training – Use the Power Tool Institute’s FREE training resources, which include high-quality publications (e.g., student activities and quizzes), training videos and lesson plans. Additionally, tool manufacturers’ supply operational manuals and videos that may be added to your training curriculum. Also, online resources abound for hand tool safety training, and they can be added to your curriculum. The important point to realize is that training materials are readily available and can be customized to suit your needs. Lastly, be certain to document all employee training.

Inspect – Use an inspection checklist to document that you are requiring hand and power tools to be free of defects. This inspection process is relevant for both employee-owned and company-owned tools. You can inspect at a frequency appropriate for your workplace (i.e., quarterly or annually seem best for hand and power tools). Similarly, many online resources for inspection checklists are available for use and customization. Select and use a checklist that is best suited for your types of hand and power tools.

If you follow these tips, then you can easily meet your training and inspection obligations, and prevent needless injuries from occurring in your workplace.

Should you require assistance with customizing your hand and power tool safety training, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or


  1. Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance:
  2. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS):–Statistics/NEISS-Injury-Data


  • MIOSHA Part 38. Hand and Portable Powered Tools (as amended April 2, 2013):
  • Power Tool Institute:
  • OSHA Hand and Power Tool Booklet (OSHA 3080; 2002 revised):
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