Ensuring Safe Usage of Portable Power Tools and Equipment

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Neglecting safety guidelines for shipboard portable power tools can lead to avoidable injuries, including fatalities involving eyes, chest, and hands during routine maintenance states Britannia P & I

Key Issues

  1. Safety sleeves removal from needle scalers.
  2. Safety guard removal or ineffective modification.
  3. Tampering with or bypassing safety cut-out devices using methods like wiring or taping.
  4. Poor general maintenance of electric tools, including wiring faults.

Tool Safety Recommendations

In an effort to minimize incidents stemming from the improper utilization of grinders and other power tools, the Club has assembled the following suggestions, which should not be regarded as an exhaustive list:

  • Prior to each use, all tools should undergo daily inspection and safety checks
  • Safety guards should never be modified or removed from any tool
  • Before operating each tool, ensure that safety cut-out devices are functional
  • Test and visually inspect the wiring and overall condition of electrical tools to ensure safety
  • All users must be equipped with and wear appropriate face shields, eye protection, hearing protection and the correct type of safety gloves when using any power tool onboard
  • Provide comprehensive training on the safe use of tools to all personnel and conduct pre-work risk assessments
  • Where power supply wires pass through doorways, the doors should be secured open
  • During temporary interruptions to work, equipment should be isolated from power sources and left safely or stowed away correctly
  • Seafarers should be advised not to use high-speed rotating tools for more than 30 minutes without a break unless the risk assessment indicates a shorter period of use
  • Ensure that the right disc is being used for the right material and at the correct speed- discs come with a max rotations per minute (RPM), this should not be exceeded
  • Discs on grinders should be changed when they are worn to prevent kickback
  • Install chain linkages or comparable mechanisms between hose sections to avoid pneumatic hose breakage and subsequent hose whiplash. Safety valves that shut off the lines can also be used
  • Tool accessories (drill bits, discs etc) should be properly secured in the tool.

The above should be considered as part of a detailed risk assessment carried out prior to the start of any work using any power tools on board.

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Source: Britannia P & I


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