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Power Tool Safety Considerations
Power tools pack a lot of muscle to penetrate through concrete. No doubt, you've heard many of these rules before, but they're worth repeating:
- Tool accessories can get hot during use. Avoid contact with skin, and wear gloves or use a cloth to remove them.
- Wear hearing protection when using the tool for long stretches of time.
- Always wear safety goggles or other eye protection to keep any flying concrete fragments or dust from your eyes.
- Wear a dust mask or respirator when involved in grinding or demolition work that generates airborne dust or debris.
- When operating hammer drills or demolition hammers, wear cushioned gloves to reduce vibration. Also take frequent breaks to limit exposure.
- Don't expose power tools to rain or wet conditions. Water entering the tool can cause electric shock.
- Never attempt to operate hammer drills, demolition hammers, or grinders with one hand. Always hold both handles for maximum control.
- Before using a concrete grinder, inspect the grinding wheel for chips, cracks, or missing segments. Replace damaged or worn wheels immediately, and always operate the grinder with the guard in place.
Power Tool Hazards During Concrete Removal
By their very nature, power tools are potentially more hazardous in general than hand tools. Power sources such as compressed air, electricity, and gasoline further exacerbate the safety hazards brought about through careless handling or incorrect usage.
- Pneumatic power tools:
- The biggest safety concern with these is their air hoses, which can be either punctured or cut, or damaged by heat and chemicals. Any of these things can cause a hazard if the result is an uncontrolled whipping of the air hose. To avoid injury from free-flying hammer bits, make sure the bit is properly secured in the tool and avoid squeezing the trigger until the tool is in the work.
- Electric power tools:
- These must be properly grounded or double-insulated to prevent electrocution. Be sure to inspect the cord for fraying, cracks, and other damage before use, and avoid using an electric tool while standing on a wet surface.
- Gasoline power tools:
- One of the biggest hazards involved with these tools is the explosive nature of the fuel used to power them. Gasoline spilled on hot engine surfaces and the accumulation of vapors and fumes can cause explosive conditions. Refuel in a cooled engine where there is adequate ventilation, and away from sparks, flames and other heat sources.