Electric tool safety and the Marine Mechanic...

WARNING: When using electric tools, always follow basic safety precautions to reduce the risk of fire, electric shock and personal injury. (not to mention, the potential damage to the boat.)

  Marine Mechanics often find themselves operating power tools in what would be considered one of the most dangerous conditions possible. So, at the top of our list, should be keeping an extra careful eye out for the surroundings and the dangers involved.
  Almost every danger presented on the list below, confronts even the simplest installation in a boat. Maybe someday, boat builders will supply a blue print with each boat so that we would know where everything is hidden, but until then, always map the work area out yourself to verify routing and potential obstructions. And even though it may be a pain in the neck, Buy a good pair of safety goggles and wear them.

ALWAYS READ AND SAVE ALL TOOL INSTRUCTIONS FOR FUTURE USE, Before use, be sure everyone using the tool reads and understands these manuals as well as any labels packaged with or attached to the tool .

1. KNOW YOUR POWER TOOL. Read the manual carefully to learn your  tools applications and limitations as well as potential hazards associated with the type of tool.

2. GROUND YOUR POWER TOOL: even if your tool is Double Insulated. Extension cords are always a concern in a boat yard. Unfortunately, many boat yards and marinas don't have adequate electrical outlets. (See Extension Cords and Grounding .)

Do not use your power tool in rain, damp or wet locations, or in the presence of explosive atmospheres, gaseous fumes, dust, or flammable materials. Remove materials or debris that may be ignited by sparks . (Even when cutting fiberglass panels in a confined area, try to utilize a shop vac to collect the dust.) Use the boats built in blower system, check for fuel leaks, batteries being charged, and painting and cleaning solvents stored in the boat before you start.

4. KEEP WORK AREA CLEAN AND WELL LIT: Cluttered, dark work areas invite accidents. The bilge of a boat typically offers limited access and lighting, so always bring plenty of lighting.

5. DRESS PROPERLY. Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry. Wear a protective hair covering to contain long hair. These may be caught in moving parts. When working outdoors, wear rubber gloves and insulated non-skid footwear. Keep hands and gloves away from moving parts.

6. USE SAFETY EQUIPMENT. Everyone in the work area should wear safety goggles or glasses with side shields complying with current safety standards. Wear hearing protection during extended use and a dust mask for dusty operations. Hard hats, face shields, safety shoes. etc should be used when specified or necessary. ALWAYS, Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and when working on a customer's boat, verify it's location before starting work.

7. KEEP BYSTANDERS AWAY. Children and bystanders should be kept at a safe distance from the work area to avoid distracting the operator and contacting the tool or extension cord.

8. PROTECT OTHERS IN THE WORK AREA from debris such as chips and sparks. Provide barriers or shields as needed.

9. SECURE WORK: Use a clamp, vise, or other practical means to hold your work securely, freeing both hands to control the tool.

10. USE THE RIGHT TOOL. Do not use a tool or attachment to do a job for which it is not recommended. For example, do not use a circular saw to cut tree limbs or logs. Do not alter a tool.

11. USE PROPER ACCESSORIES: Using un-recommended accessories may be hazardous. Be sure accessories are properly installed and maintained. Do not defeat a guard or other safety device when installing an accessory or attachment.

12. CHECK FOR DAMAGED PARTS: Inspect guards and other parts before use. Check for misalignment, binding of moving parts, improper mounting, broken parts, and any other conditions that may affect operation. If abnormal noise or vibration occurs, turn the tool off immediately and have the problem corrected before further use. Do not use a damaged tool. Tag damaged tools 'DO NOT USE' until repaired. A guard or other damaged part should be properly repaired or replaced by a tool service facility. For all repairs, insist on only identical replacement parts.

13. REMOVE ALL ADJUSTING KEYS AND WRENCHES: Make a habit of checking that adjusting keys, wrenches, etc. are removed from the tool before turning it on.

14. GUARD AGAINST ELECTRIC SHOCK: Prevent body contact with grounded surfaces such as pipes, radiators, ranges, and refrigerators. When making blind or plunge cuts, always check the work area for hidden wires or pipes. Hold your tool by insulated non-metal grasping surfaces. Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) to reduce shock hazards.

15. AVOID ACCIDENTAL STARTING: Be sure your tool is turned off before plugging it in. Do not use a tool if the power switch does not turn the tool on and off. Do not carry a plugged-in tool with your finger on the switch.

16. DO NOT FORCE TOOL: Your tool will perform best at the rate for which it was designed. Excessive force only causes operator fatigue, increased wear and reduced control. Hole saw usage is especially troublesome. But it is a good idea to keep the drill speed up.


18. DO NOT ABUSE CORD. Never carry your tool by it's cord or unplug it by yanking the cord from the outlet. Pull plug rather than cord to reduce the risk of damage. Keep the cord away from heat, oil, sharp objects, cutting edges, and moving parts.

19. DO NOT OVERREACH, MAINTAIN CONTROL: Keep proper footing and balance at all times. Maintain a firm grip. Use extra care when using tool on ladders, roofs, scaffolds, etc. (Yes marine mechanics do use ladders once and a while.)

20. STAY ALERT. Watch what you are doing and use common sense. Do not use a tool when you are tired, distracted, or under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any medication causing decreased control.

21. UNPLUG TOOL when if is not in use, before changing accessories or performing recommended maintenance.

22. MAINTAIN TOOLS CAREFULLY: Keep handles dry, clean, and free from oil and grease. Keep cutting edges sharp and clean. Follow instructions for lubricating and changing accessories. Periodically inspect tool cords and extension cords for damage. Have damaged parts repaired or replaced by a service facility.

23 STORE IDLE TOOLS: When not in use, store your tool in a dry secured place. Keep out of reach of children.

24 MAINTAIN LABELS and NAME PLATES: These carry important information, if unreadable or missing, contact a service facility for a free replacement. Most tool manufacturers will gladly supply one.

Milwaukee Tools  publishes a guide line for maximum bit size for each model power drill they manufacture. This page shows a small sample.


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