The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Power Tool Safety

Graham Marshall - Sunday, April 29, 2012

This safety alert from the good folks at the Marine Safety Forum highlights the criticality of using grinders and other electric power tools which have so-called "dead-man operability".

That simply means that the grinder has an auto-shut off switch which kills the power if the tool is not being actively used.

Dead-man operability on powered tools is vital in situations where a tool could be inadvertently set down or dropped; for example if someone slips or becomes ill (e.g., heart attack).

Any auto-shut off switch on a powered tool is safety-critical equipment and it should never be purposefully over-ridden or removed.

As the example from the MSF shows, a worker using a grinder (without dead-man operability) dropped a grinding machine which continued to rotate and cut into his leg causing a 5cm gash.  Nasty!

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