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.