White Card Update: Safety Tips for Construction Drill Usage

It seems that one of the most widely utilised yet incorrectly utilised tools in the construction and building sector is the simple drill. Often it is the most commonly used items that are abused and those tools which we tend to operate on a daily basis are those which we develop bad habits when working with.

While the construction sector is one of the most dangerous, recording a lot of injuries across the country, many of these injuries are so called “minor” injuries or those which aren’t life threatening such as musculoskeletal injuries, minor cuts and bruises etc. Even though drill use is perceived as a simple task which doesn’t require much brain work, if you fail to adhere to the safety precautions required for safe drill usage, you can sustain minor or even more serious, life threatening but totally preventable injuries.

Here we discuss a few Drill Safety Tips to refresh your memory about best drill practice.

Those in the construction field need to keep in mind that it is up to the employer to train all employees on how to use them safely and correctly.

There are different types of drills which are utilised in the construction sector and each presents its own risks and safety control measures. The most commonly utilised on building sites are Drill Presses and Hand Held Drills.

Working with Hand Held Drills

Hand held drills are common even in private residences, so because of their commonality many people incorrectly assume that they aren’t dangerous. Any tool can be dangerous if it is improperly utilised and hand held drills are no different.

In fact hand held drills can actually present even greater risks than other types of drills because it is portable. Because hand held drills are not stationary, they are often more versatile than a standard drill press but this portability also presents its risks. Therefore workers must be educated on how to safely use a hand held drill.

  • Although it may seem unnecessary ensure that workers have received the necessary safety training to undertake work with any tool including a drill. Also make sure they read and understand the drill’s manual before they use it for the first time.
  • A danger to workers presented by work with any electric power tool is that they may be electrocuted. Drills with cords should be inspected to ensure they aren’t damaged. The plug should be checked for cuts, fraying or tearing and should not be used if any of these are discovered.
  • Another common malpractice when it comes to hand held drill usage is that workers set it down for a minute without turning it off. Every time the drill leaves your hands it should be turned off. Also never walk around with a drill that is turned on.
  • Ensure that the drill bits being used are made for the use in that drill and fit perfectly. If the drill bit is made for other drills it may not fit correctly. Also ensure the drill is turned off before you replace drill bits.
  • Don’t forget the use of Personal protective equipment. Goggles should be worn when working with a drill to protect your eyes from dust, wood, drill bits etc.

Tips for Drill Press Safety

The use of a drill press is common in a number of trades and commercially they are given preference over hand held drills because they tend to be more accurate. It also allows the user to have more control over the piece they are working with because it is built in to the table and has clamps to give complete control to the operator. But like handheld drills they can present a risk and need to be used safely.

  • Like hand held drills workers should begin by ensuring that the drill isn’t damaged. Inspect the tool and if it is in good order you can proceed.
  • During your inspection, also check the clamps and the table that the drill is attached to. If there are any cracks of breaks don’t use the drill. Also ensure that the clamps are properly secured and immovable. Also check the guards and covered before starting the drill.
  • Don’t operate a drill press while wearing loose, baggy, flowing items of clothing or anything that can get caught. Remove your jewellery and ensure that your long hair has been tied back and away from the machine.
  • Don’t improvise when it comes to drill bits. If the bit hasn’t been made for the drill you’re using, don’t use it.
  • Ensure that before you begin drilling, whatever you are working with has been tightly secured with clamps.
  • Always keep your extremities at least 3 inches away from the drill bit.
  • If you walk away ensure it has been turned off and avoid distractions while the drill is in use.


Safe Plant and Machinery Maintenance Tips

Maintenance of plant and machinery is in itself vital to construction site safety. Machinery, plant and equipment involved in the construction process like any other experience wear and tear and therefore require regular and routine maintenance and occasional repair. Unfortunately during these “routine” tasks accidents can occur which threaten worker’s health and safety.

There are certain safety tips to keep in mind to ensure that during the maintenance process safety is not compromised and risks are not created by the maintenance itself.

  • Workers should be given responsibilities which they are clearly aware of and trained to undertake. They need to understand their responsibilities as far as it relates to machine maintenance.
  • Employers should develop procedures for the maintenance and inspection of the plant and machinery, use the manufacturers recommendations to do this.
  • Similarly to any hazardous activity, a risk assessment should be carried out to determine the hazards present at each stage of the maintenance process.
  • Training and information should be provided to those workers undertaking the maintenance work.
  • Workers should be supervised while performing these maintenance tasks.
  • A work scheduling system should be implemented which provides information on when the inspection or maintenance is due for each item of plant on the register and outstanding inspection and maintenance. It should also provide information on who is responsible for carrying out the inspection and maintenance work andspecify the type of inspection or maintenance required.

White Card Construction Safety Tips

This video shows us the basic dos and don’ts of construction safety by demonstrating the consequences for mistakes or negligence when it comes to safety. Although it may seem funny, these incidents could turn out much worse, workers could have been injured, even fatally.


In order to avoid these kinds of incidents it is imperative that all workers who enter the construction industry undergo general construction safety training, in the form of The White Card.

As this video shows, accidents on construction sites are avoidable with the proper precautions and safety measures but in order for workers to become familiar with these measures they need to undergo the appropriate safety training, ie. The White Card. That is why the Australian government has made the White Card a mandatory requirement for any worker entering the construction industry.

Luckily the White Card is not complicated to obtain, it is as simple as completing the course online, when and where it suits you. The course is comprehensive and most importantly it teaches workers entering the construction industry exactly what type of hazards they will be faced with and for experienced workers it is a refresher course on the correct methods to undertake to overcome safety hazards.