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Nowadays, it has never been easier and more affordable to learn DIY. The amount of practical and convenient developments in modern tools within the last few decades means even the most inexperienced person can be walked through most aspects of home repair or learn it themselves with some trial and error.
This convenience is chiefly thanks to the massive versatility of power tools. Impact drills, drivers, saws, and sanders are time-saving machines that, in the right hands, can make short work of a wide array of home repair and DIY jobs. However, these tools deserve the attention and respect of those that use them and can be serious trouble in the wrong hands.
Thankfully, power tools are perfectly safe with just a few pieces of kit, some know-how, and a little common sense. Here is our guide to keeping safe whilst using power tools.
Your first point of safety comes before you even plug in your tools, making sure your choice of power tool has standard safety features and the blades, bits, or discs are in good condition. When choosing power tools, functional features such as a safety cut-off on saws, sufficient shielding, and easy-to-use controls are all factors you should consider. Likewise, inspecting the fittings before using a power tool is also critical. Blades and discs (especially for angle grinders) used in power tools are extremely tough but will wear out. Using a damaged, worn-out blade or disc could cause it to snap, shatter, or break during use and potentially cause injury.
When you are working with power tools, there are a few pieces of essential safety equipment that you must consider before even picking up a drill or saw. These items should pair with care and vigilance but help mitigate some unavoidable risks and discomfort. A dust mask will come in handy if you’re going to be decorating, sanding, or working with rough particles. These masks are perfect for sawdust and plaster dust but are not appropriate for extremely fine powders, paint fumes, and other chemicals. A pair of safety glasses will protect you from sawdust, chips, and splinters. Safety glasses carry a rating, an internationally agreed standard of protection. EN166 F should be perfectly adequate, as higher ratings are for industrial settings. If you plan to use power tools of any kind, you should invest in some hearing protection. Even for short periods, loud noises – especially within enclosed spaces – can damage your hearing and make it uncomfortable working around. A pair of ear defenders is more than enough protection from loud noise whilst using power tools around the home.
Another critical aspect of power tool safety is dressing appropriately. Baggy clothing is comfortable, but there is nothing more dangerous in terms of working with power tools. You must make sure that nothing you wear will cause you to trip, slip, or get caught in any moving parts. Solid and dependable shoes with laces or hook and loop that fasten securely are best, especially safety boots, but trainers are also acceptable for light work. If you have long hair, it should be tied back, and any jewellery should be removed whilst working. Likewise, the space that you’re working in should be clear of anything that you could trip over or could snag any cables from your tools.
Ensuring that the object you’re working on is secured is critical to keeping safe using power tools. Most of the time, your work will be perfectly secure as part of a wall or prominent fixture. However, when dealing with smaller work during carpentry and woodworking tasks, simply pressing it against a flat surface is not good enough.
At best, you’ll end up with sloppy work. At worst, you could injure yourself seriously. If you don’t have a work bench, they are essential for better work and paramount safety. For more complicated pieces or extra grip, a set of G clamps is another toolbox essential that will keep work secured.
With a few pieces of simple equipment, some consideration for the clothing you wear and the space around you, and vigilance, there is nothing to fear from tackling even the most challenging DIY jobs homeowning can throw at you. Our wide selection of power tools is a great way to get started, from introductory models to professional hardware.