staying safe when using drills at height

Staying Safe When Using Drills At Height

Posted on 13th Feb, 2017 | By Lorretta Tatham

For homeowners and tradesmen alike, drills are powerful and useful tools, but they do need to be treated with the respect they deserve. Like lots of power tools, they’ve got the potential to do serious injury if not used properly.

Staying Safe Before Work Begins

holding drill correctly

Before you even prepare your working environment you’ve first got to make sure that you yourself are ready. Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing, and remove any jewellery you can. If any of it becomes tangled in the spinning drill bit, it has the potential to cause serious injury. The same goes with any long hair, which is best secured before the job begins. Next, safety goggles are a vital piece of equipment that you can’t go without, as the drill can churn up a lot of dust and other debris that your eyes are particularly vulnerable to. For the same reason, a dust mask or other face covering is equally important, especially when drilling into materials such as wood, as breathing it in can cause temporary or even sometimes permanent lung conditions. Gloves are another crucial consideration following the same general principles. Drills give off intense vibrations, especially on higher settings, and the friction can cause the drill bits to become dangerously hot. Gloves protect your hands not only from this heat, but also the worst effects of any moving or spinning parts.

Once you’ve decently equipped yourself, you should next cast a quick eye over your working environment. A golden rule for every drill operator is that you should always secure your work piece – the thing you’re going to be drilling into. Never hold it with one hand, even if you’re wearing gloves, as the potential for injury is dangerously high. It’s best to clamp it down or secure it in a vice if possible. Meanwhile, ensure that the drill bit is tightly secured into the chuck before you begin. If the drill bit flies off while the drill is spinning, it has the capacity to cause traumatic bodily harm.

Working Safely While Drilling

man using power drill

As you’re drilling, you should always apply only the appropriate amount of pressure to the drill – if in doubt, it’s better to ease in rather than use excessive force. This could not only cause damage to the drill, but potentially to you if it slips on the surface. For similar reasons it’s a good idea to know the manufacturer’s recommended settings, and make sure you don’t try and exceed the drill’s capabilities.

Tidy and clear away any cords from the cutting area, and keep an eye out for frays or damage – both as you’re working, as well as before and after. When inserting screw, the experts recommend first drilling pilot holes – it’s far easier to insert a screw into a pre-drilled hole rather than trying to bore it through the surface. As a bonus, you’ll also have to apply less pressure, reducing the chances you’ll slip. Always disconnect the power before changing or adjusting the bit or any attachments – if the button is depressed for even a moment, it still has the power to cause serious injury.

Besides these tips, all the usual general safety rules still apply – make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings, and that everything is as secure as it can possibly be before you start the job. We outline more of these rules in greater detail on our Health and Safety Courses. Of course, in the meantime we’re always happy to help with any queries you may have! You can call us on 01282 615517, and we’ll help in any way we can.

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