Power Tool Safety Tips

by Tim Steingraber

A U.S. CPSC’s study, cited by the ESFi, has concluded that there are nearly 400 electrocutions in the U.S. each year. Roughly 15% of these are related to consumer products, and about 8% involve power drills, saws, sanders, hedge trimmers, and other electric power tools. Additionally, 9% of product-related electrocutions each year are caused by accidents involving lawn or garden equipment and ladders, which come into contact with overhead power lines. Electrical conductors do not always have to be touching an electrical source to receive its current; currents can jump to the nearest conductor from up to 10 feet away.

Here are some power tool safety tips outlined by the ESFi:

• Use GFCIs with every power tool to help protect against electrical shock
• Do not use power tools with an extension cord exceeding 100 feet in length
• Never use power tools near live electrical wires or water pipes
• Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched/penetrated
• If a power tool trips a safety device (ie. GFCI, AFCI) while in use, take the tool to a manufacturer-authorized repair center for service
• When working with electricity, use tools that have insulated grips.
• Wear all appropriate personal protective gear when using power tools
• Do not use power tools without proper guards
• When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or pressure washer, follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electric shock

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