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Hand & Power Tool Safety Plan

Last Updated: 07/18/2019

The purpose of the Injury Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) is to outline Cal Maritime's environmental health and safety requirements, expectations, and responsibilities in order to achieve effective campus safety performance through Integrated Safety Management (ISM). The Hand & Power Tool Safety Plan is a subject specific component the supports the overall University IIPP.

Note: Training Ship Golden Bear (TSGB) is regulated under MARAD. For operations pertaining to the TSGB  -  Refer to Shoreside Administration Manual (SAM) and Vessel Operations Manual (VOM).

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All hand and portable power tools must be maintained in a useable condition. The following applies to all hand and portable power tool maintenance and use to minimize hazards associated with their use.

Maintain all tools in useable condition through following manufacturer recommendations for service; storing tools in the appropriate manner to minimize exposure to excessive temperature, humidity and corrosive materials; and reporting defects or deficiencies associated with tools to departmental supervisors upon discovery.

Use the appropriate tool for the job. Hand and portable power tools are designed and manufactured for specific uses. Employees must use tools and equipment in the manner intended by the manufacturer. To prevent miss- use of existing equipment and to prevent injuries, the supervisor shall ensure the proper tools are available to complete a job; if a task is required to be completed by an employee where an appropriate tool is not present, the supervisor shall ensure the job is not completed until the appropriate tool is available.

Prior to use, tools and equipment should be inspected by the user to ensure they are in proper working order with no defects or deficiencies, which may result in unsafe use or injury to the user. Damaged tools and equipment must be removed from service and tagged to ensure unauthorized use does not take place.

Always operate tools and portable power equipment according to the manufacturer's specifications. Failure to do so may result in injury to the user.


Many tools and equipment protect exposed moving parts through various machine guarding techniques. Belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, sprockets, spindles, drums, flywheels, chains, or other reciprocating, rotating, or moving parts are typically guarded with safety shields or switches.

Machine  guards  must  be  provided  to  protect  the  user  from  the following:

  • Point of operation hazards
  • In-running nip points
  • Rotating parts
  • Flying particles and sparks.

Machine guards directly cover a hazardous area of a tool or piece of equipment to prevent contact by the user. An example of a machine guard is the retractable cover on a circular saw, which exposes only the area of the blade performing the cutting action.

Safety switches are incorporated into many portable power tools to prevent unintended activation of the equipment. An example of a safety switch is a constant pressure switch, which requires the user to place pressure on the activation switch and releasing of the switch results in the tool shutting off or stopping.

Machine guards, safety switches, and any other safety elements of a tool or power tool, must not be removed, manipulated or tampered with in any way.

Use hand tools only for their intended purposes. For example, using a screwdriver as a chisel may result in the tip of the screw driver breaking and becoming a flying particle hazard.

  • Inspect hand tools for damage prior to use
  • Maintain hand tools in good working condition and free from damage. Handles of tools should be maintained free from grease and oil to prevent slipping and deterioration of the materials of construction.   Damaged hand tools must be removed from service and repaired or replaced.
  • When using tools, such as knives, saws, or other cutting devices, always direct the tool away from the worker and any other personnel in the area.
  • Maintain cutting tools so that the cutting edges are sharp.  Dull cutting edges may present additional hazards.
  • Cracked cutting blades must be removed from service and replaced.
  • Wrenches must be used to prevent slippage, to prevent injury to the user.
  • Impact tools, such as chisels, drift pins, and wedges must be kept free from mushroomed heads.
  • Iron or steel hand tools may produce sparks when struck. Ensure the use of iron and steel tools does not occur near flammable or combustible materials. If flammable or combustible materials are present, ensure the use of non- sparking hand tools.
  • Maintain both the work area and tools in a clean and organized manner.  This will help prevent potential injuries.
  • Store hand tools in a clean and dry location.
  • Wear the appropriate PPE


  • Portable power tools must be equipped with safety mechanisms as per manufacture requirements. Portable power tools, when used improperly, can result in serious injury or death.
  • Types of portable power tools are determined by their power source, each of which will be addressed in this program, and include electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, and powder actuated portable power tools.
  • To reduce hazards associated with the use of portable power tools, employees should observe the following general safety practices.
  • Read and understand the owner's/user manual for each portable power tool expected to be used by the employee.  The manual should address the tool's proper   use,   limitations,   proper   operation,   hazards,   and PPE, storage and maintenance practices applicable to the equipment.
  • Tools should not be carried or lowered from an elevated position by the power cord.
  • Never pull a power cord or hose as a means to disconnect it from a power source.
  • Ensure cords and hoses are kept clear from heat, oil and sharp edges during use.
  • Ensure tools are properly grounded during use. Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) for corded tools.
  • When not in use, before service, cleaning and during blade/bit replacement procedures; power tools should be disconnected from their power source.
  • When portable power tools are in use, unauthorized personnel must be kept clear of the work area. Utilize appropriate signage to indicate when portable power tools are in use and clearly define restricted areas.
  • It may be necessary to secure the work area with a vice or clamps to allow for proper use of equipment when two hands are required to be on the power tool during use.
  • To avoid accidental start-up of power tools, do not hold fingers on the triggers during transportation of equipment.
  • Maintain tools in a clean manner free from oil and grease.
  • Maintain cutting surfaces in a sharp manner. Dull cutting edges present additional hazards.
  • When operating power tools, ensure adequate footing and maintain good balance while in use.
  • Wear appropriate PPE during the use of power tools including hand, head, eye, foot, hearing, respiratory and body protection. Loose clothing, long hair, ties, or jewelry can become caught in moving parts; therefore ensure employees are appropriately dressed to perform the necessary work with portable power tools.
  • Inspect portable power tools prior to use. Andy defects or deterioration of the equipment should result in the tool being removed from service. Portable power tools removed from service due to defects must be tagged with "DO NOT USE" or the equivalent to prevent unauthorized use.



Employees who use hand and portable power tools and are exposed hazards, such as noise, vibration, particulate, sparks/chips, abrasive, splashing objects, harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapors and/or gases must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The following considerations should be evaluated, at a minimum, in the selection and use of PPE when utilizing hand and portable power tools.

  • Eye protection - Safety glasses or goggles must be worn at all times when using hand and portable power tools.
    • A face shield may be used in addition to safety glasses or goggles to protect the face and neck.
  • Foot protection – Appropriate foot protection, which may include closed toed shoes or steel-toed boots, must be worn when working with hand and portable power tools.
  • Hearing protection – If the tool or equipment being utilized generates excessive noise, the use of hearing protection may be necessary. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for hearing protection and contact Environmental Health & Safety to conduct personal noise dosimetry to determine if employees should be enrolled in the hearing conservation program.
  • Hearing protection is recommended during the use of certain hand tools and all portable power tools.
  • Respiratory protection – Tools and equipment, which generate excessive dust, may require the use of a particulate filtering respirator. Contact EHS to determine if the use of a respirator is required or voluntary. Refer to the Cal Maritime Respiratory Protection Program for additional information on respiratory protection.
  • Hand protection – Whenever there are sharp objects or elevated temperatures associated with the work being conducted, adequate hand protection must be provided to the employee performing the work.
  • Body protection – Depending on the hazard present, appropriate clothing must be worn during the use of hand/portable power tools.
  • Hair Protection – Long hair must be tied back and secured during the use of power tools to prevent hair being caught in moving parts.




  • Employees utilizing electric powered portable tools must be aware of many hazards associated with their use. One common hazard with all electric power tools is the possibility of burns, shock or electrocution. Even a slight shock or small burn can cause a worker to fall from a ladder or result in serious injury depending on the work conditions.
  • To protect users from shock hazards, electrical power tools must have a three wire cord with a ground prong and be properly grounded during use.
  • Three-wire cords contain two current carrying conductors and a grounding conductor. One end of the grounding conductor connects to the tool's metal housing; the other end is grounded through a prong on the plug.
  • The use of an adapter to fit a two-hole receptacle is not recommended, but if necessary, the equipment must be properly grounded to a known ground.
  • The third prong on the electrical cord of power tools must never be tampered with or removed for any reason.
  • Some tools are equipped with double-insulated electrical cords, which contain an internal layer of insulation to isolate the external housing of the tool, and do not have a ground prong. Only double-insulated cords are permitted to be used without a ground wire.

The following general practices should be followed when utilizing electric power tools.

  • Electric power tools must be operated as intended and specified by the manufacturer.
  • Utilize the appropriate PPE when utilizing electrical power tools.
  • Store power tools properly when not in use to prevent unnecessary damage.
  • Never use electric power tools in wet or damp locations, unless they are approved for use in these locations.
  • Work areas should be well lighted.
  • Ensure cords associated with the use of power tools do not present excessive trip hazards.
  • Electrical power tools should be inspected prior to use. Any defects in the tool or wiring must result in the tool being taken out of service and marked "DO NOT USE" or similar to prevent unauthorized use.

Electric Saws – portable or semi-portable electric power saws can include circular, table, saber, radial arm, miter, and band saws. The following outlines the safety precautions to take when working with these types of saws.

Circular Saw – A portable saw using a toothed metal cutting disc/blade used for cutting wood, metal and concrete depending on the blade being used.

Portable circular saws with blades greater than 2 inches in diameter must be equipped at all times with guards. An upper guard must cover the entire blade of the saw. A retractable lower guard must cover the teeth of the saw, except where if makes contact with the work material.

  • The lower guard must automatically return to the covering position when the tool is withdrawn from the material being cut.

Table Saw – portable/semi-portable cutting tables with a fixed, toothed blade used for cutting longer lengths of wood and ensuring flush cuts.

  • The blade on a table saw must be adjustable in height to allow the user to adjust the blade no more than 1/8 inch above the material to be cut.
  • Ensure the material set to be cut does not contact the blade when starting or stopping the saw.
  • Keep the body away from the saw.
  • Use a push stick to keep hands and fingers away from the cutting blade.
  • Guards covering the blade at all times should operate freely when the material to be cut is introduced to the saw blade.
  • When not in use, lower the blade fully below the tabletop to prevent inadvertent contact.

Saber Saw – a portable reciprocating saw used to make custom cuts in wood or metal.

  • Always select the blade appropriate for the material being cut.
  • Ensure the blade is sharp. Dull blades can present additional hazards.
  • Do not turn on the saw when the blade is in contact with the material to be cut. This may cause the tool to "jump" or chip the material to be cut.
  • Ensure the material to be cut is secure to prevent movement during cutting.
  • Keep hands and other objects free from the cutting area at all times.

Radial Arm Saw – a semi portable saw equipped with a cutting table where the saw blade is above the table and moved along a rod to allow for flush cutting.

  • The material to be cut should be placed firmly against the saw's back guide.
  • The blade should rotate downward.
  • Pull  the  saw  with  one  hand  and  hold  the  wood  with  the  other, ensuring it is clear from the cutting area.
  • Never reach across the line of a cut.
  • Return the saw to the rear position after completing a cut.
  • Radial arm saws should be equipped with blade guards, which operate freely when contacting materials being cut.

Miter Saw – portable/semi-portable saw used to cut flush angles on materials with a pull down blade.

  • Miter saws use a downward cutting motion; therefore, keep hands and fingers well outside the cutting area.
  • Miter saws must be equipped with a blade guard, which must operate freely when the blade contacts the material to be cut.
  • Only use the manufacturer specified blade sizes and rpm ratings.
  • When changing saw blades ensure all bolts are adequately tightened and secured to the saw.

Band Saw – a portable/semi-portable saw used for precision cuts on wood and metal with a rotating belt blade.

  • Set the blade evenly and with the correct tension before cutting.
  • Push the cutting item through the blade with both hands on either side of the blade ensuring hands and fingers are clear of the cutting area.
  • Ensure guards are in place.

Drills – electric power drills are typically used to put holes in various materials including wood, metal, concrete and brick; and can be equipped with a hammer function.

  • When operating a drill, use the proper size and type of bit for the job. Ensure the bit is sharp and not damaged.
  • Ensure the chuck is secured to the spindle. Tighten the bit securely as outlined in the owner's manual. Remove the chuck key prior to starting the drill.
  • Ensure the handles are securely attached.
  • When drilling, brace the drill to prevent torque on the hands/wrists.
  • Never force a drill. Forcing a drill can cause the motor to overhead and damage the bit. Apply the appropriate pressure for the job. If the drill slows, relieve the pressure.

Portable Abrasive Wheel Tools – portable tools used to grind, cut, polish, buff, etc. through a rotating wheel attached to the tool body, which typically generate large amounts of dust and particulates during cutting operations.

  • Abrasive wheel tools must be equipped with guards that cover the spindle end, nut and flange projections; maintain proper alignment with the wheel; and do not exceed the strength of the fastenings.
  • Inspect wheels before use. Any damage or defects must be addressed prior to use. To ensure cutting wheels are not cracked, tap with a non-metallic instrument. If the wheel sounds cracked or "dead" it could disintegrate during use and must not be used. A stable and undamaged wheel, when tapped, will give a clear metallic tone or "ring".
  • Abrasive wheels must fit freely on the spindle. If a wheel is installed too tightly it may crack during use. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions on wheel replacement.
  • Allow the wheel to reach optimal operating speed before conducting cutting, grinding, buffing, etc. operations.
  • Stand clear of flying particles coming from the tool during use if possible.
  • Always utilize the appropriate PPE when using powered abrasive cutting tools including, but not limited to, eye/face, hand and body protection.
  • Turn off and unplug abrasive grinding tools when not in use.
  • Never clamp a grinding tool in a vise or to a surface to perform a function.




Pneumatic tools are powered by compressed air and include chippers, drills, hammers, sanders, nailers, etc. Hazards associated with pneumatic power tools include noise, vibration, fatigue, and struck by.

  • ANSI approved eye protection is required anytime employees are working with pneumatic tools. A significant hazard of using pneumatic power tools is being struck by one of the tool's attachments or by a fastener used with the tool.
  • Ensure the air hose is securely attached to the tool being used prior to activating the tool to minimize the potential for the hose disconnecting during use.
  • Air hoses greater than 1/2 inch in diameter must be equipped with a safety excess flow valve to shut off the air automatically in case the hose breaks.
  • All pneumatic tools should be equipped with safety clips or other safety elements to prevent the release of tool parts during use. Safety features of pneumatic tools must not be tampered with or altered in any way.
  • Pneumatic tools, which shoot nails, rivets, staples, or similar fasteners and operate at pressures above 100 psi, must be equipped with a muzzle safety feature to prevent fasteners from firing unless the muzzle is pressed against the materials to be fastened.
    • Never pull the muzzle safety switch back manually to fire fasteners for any reason.
  • Pneumatic paint spray equipment must be equipped with safety switches to prevent accidental discharge of paint.
  • When using pneumatic power tools, ensure the work area is isolated to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Compressed air should not be used for cleaning purposes at pressures greater than 30 psi.




Fuel powered tools are typically powered by gasoline or gasoline/oil mixtures. Common hazards associated with gas powered equipment are handling flammable liquids/vapors and exposure to exhaust fumes.

  • Fuel (fuel/oil mixtures) must be handled, stored and transported only in approved containers for flammable liquids.
  • When a fuel powered tool is used in an enclosed area, effective ventilation and/or appropriate respiratory protection must be provided to avoid exposure to carbon monoxide.

Additional safety precautions for using liquid fuel powered tools include:

  • Utilize only the manufacturer specified fuel when powering the equipment.
  • When refueling a tool or piece of equipment, ensure the motor is shut down and the engine is cool before refueling.
  • Fire extinguishers should be available wherever fuel powered tools are in use.
  • Cutting tools, such as chain saws or concrete saws, must be equipped with guards and/or safety switches to ensure safe use. Do not tamper with, or modify, safety features of fuel powered tools.




  • Hydraulic power tools utilize pressurized lines filled with hydraulic fluid to provide the pressure. The fluid within hydraulic power tools must be an approved fire-resistant fluid and must retain its operating characteristics at the most extreme temperatures to which it will be exposed.
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for safe operating pressures for hoses, valves, pipes, filters, and other fittings at all times.
  • Hand-held power tools, powered by hydraulic lines must be equipped with a constant- pressure switch, or a control that shuts off the power when pressure is released.
  • This includes drills, tappers, fastener drivers, angle grinders (with wheels greater than 2 inches in diameter), disc sanders (with discs greater than 2 inches in diameter), belt sanders, reciprocating saws, saber saws, scroll saws, jig saws and other similar tools.
  • Hydraulic jacks, including lever, ratchet, and screw jacks, must have a stop indicator, and the stop limit must not be exceeded.
  • Load limits must be determined by the manufacturer and be marked on the jack. Load limits must not be exceeded.
  • A jack should be used to raise a load, but not fully support a lifted load. Once raised, blocking should be placed firmly under the base of the load.
  • To set up a jack:
  • Place the base of the jack on a firm, level surface.
  • Center the jack correctly on the load.
  • Place the jack head against a level surface.
  • Apply the lifting force evenly.
  • Jacks should be lubricated regularly.


Jack Inspection – All jacks must be inspected regularly according to the following:

  • Jacks used regularly: inspect at least once every 6 months
  • Jacks sent out for special work: inspect when sent out and returned
  • Jacks subjected to abnormal loads/shock:   Inspect before and after use.



Powder actuated tools require specific user training and are not to be used at Cal Maritime without prior approval from Environmental Health & Safety.

  • If approval is granted for the use of powder actuated tools, all rules and guidelines are to be strictly followed.
  • Hand tools are tools that are powered manually and do not require additional power sources such as electric, hydraulic, compressed air, etc. Examples of hand tools include anvils, axes, hammers, planers, pliers, punches, saws, screw drivers, tin snips, and wrenches.
  • Hazards associated with hand tools are typically associated with misuse of the equipment and/or improper maintenance of the tools. To prevent injury when utilizing hand tools, the following precautions should be taken.



Cal Maritime and its subcontractors shall comply with the following requirements.

In case of conflict or overlap of the below references, the most stringent provision shall apply.

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 1904, 1910, 1915,1917,1918,1926
  • California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 8, GISO, CSO, ESO
  • Portable power tools such as drills, sanders, and saws must be either grounded or double insulated - T8CCR 2395.45
  • Circular saws must be guarded - T8CCR 4307
  • Saws must not pullout pass the front of table - T8CCR 4309(b)
  • Saws must automatically return to back of table when cut is done - T8CCR 4309(d)
  • Cords and hoses must not be used to lower tools - T8CCR 1707
  • Electrical cords must be kept in good working order. Damaged cord insulation can be repaired only if the conductor is not damaged and the completed cord repair allows the insulation to retain its original properties T8CCR 2500.25
  • Electrical cords must be protected - T8CCR 2405.2(f)
  • Keep the tool sharp - T8CCR 1699(a)




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Report of Safe Work Practices: Demonstrates the unconditional dedication toward the protection of person and property.
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