Safety Photo of the Day! – “This Is Gonna Hurt” –

Safety Pic of the Day


Hand and Power Tool Safety

Hand and power tools are a common part of our everyday lives and are present in nearly every industry. These tools help us to easily perform tasks that otherwise would be difficult or impossible. However, these simple tools can be hazardous and have the potential for causing severe injuries when used or maintained improperly. Special attention toward hand and power tool safety is necessary in order to reduce or eliminate these hazards.

Hand and power tool hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and the construction industry.

OSHA Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards, directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to hand and power tools in the workplace.

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

  • 1910 Subpart P, Hand and portable powered tools and other hand-held equipment
    • 1910.241, Definitions
    • 1910.242, Hand and portable powered tools and equipment, general
    • 1910.243, Guarding of portable powered tools
    • 1910.244, Other portable tools and equipment
  • 1910 Subpart R, Special industries
  • 1910 Subpart T, Commercial diving operations [related topic page]
  • Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)

    Marine Terminals (29 CFR 1917)

    Longshoring (29 CFR 1918)

    Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)





    • Explosive Actuated Fastening Tools. STD 01-13-002 [STD 1-13.2A], (1985, December 9). Provides specific interpretation as to when magazine-fed, explosive power operated hand tools are considered “loaded”.


    Standard Interpretations













    Hazards and Solutions

    Many workers are unaware of the potential hazards in their work environment, which makes them more vulnerable to injury. The following references aid in recognizing and controlling hand and power tool hazards in the workplace.


    • Hand and Power Tools. OSHA Publication 3080, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 171 KB PDF, 32 pages. Includes information on the dangers of hand and power tools and safety precautions.



    • NIOSH Update: NIOSH Pursues Hand-Vibration Studies to Understand, Address Risks. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (2003, June 3). Announces that NIOSH is pursuing studies to help fill critical research gaps linking vibrating hand tools with worker injuries and point to ways for effectively reducing risks of hand-vibration disorders for employees who use jackhammers, chipping hammers, power drills, and other vibrating tools.


  • Easy Ergonomics: A Guide to Selecting Non-Powered Hand Tools. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh), (2004).

    • Hand/Power Tools. National Ag Safety Database (NASD). Links to several informative documents covering machinery safety and hand/power tools.

    Additional Information

    Related Safety and Health Topics Pages



    • Construction Industry Safety and Health Outreach Program. OSHA, (1996, May). Table of contents for OSHA construction outreach materials. One of the sections contains information on hand and power tools.
      • Hand and Power Tools. Discusses that the employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees but the employees have the responsibility for properly using and maintaining tools, (2006, May).

    Other Resources


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