TOOLBOX TALK 58/60
TOPIC: PORTABLE ELECTRICAL TOOLS – PART 1 OF 2
OBJECTIVE: TO ENSURE THE SAFE USE OF PORTABLE ELECTRICAL TOOLS

Some things to know before you give your talk.
  • How many times have you heard these words spoken about power tools? “It’s only a small power tool – it can’t hurt me.”
  • There are many accidents reports that show that a 220-volt shock can be fatal.
  • It’s not the voltage that will get you; it’s the amperage or current.

 

Explain to your crew how they are protected from electrical faults. Tell them about:
  • Third (earth) wire (complete with earthing prong) on the outlets and extension cords.
  • This provides a low-resistance path to ground. Should they come in contact with a fault in the cord or tool, the current will take the path of least resistance: going to the ground through the third wire rather than through their body.
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).
  • This device measures current on the hot wire and the neutral wire – they should be the same. If they are not, that means that the current is leaking. In that case, the GFCI will trip when it senses a difference as little as 5mAA (milli amperes).
  • Nuisance tripping of a GFCI can be corrected with some simple investigation. If a long extension cord is used, insert a portable GFCI at the working end. Look at all connections, are any wet or in water? Test the tool, it may have a fault in it. Test the GFCI, they can also break. But don’t bypass it!

 

Assured Grounding/Earthing System
  • This requires frequent checking and color coding of all tool and cords.
  • Normally done on a job by the person appointed to do so. If used on your job, you should explain the operation in detail.
  • You should also remind them to check the casing on their double insulated tools, if that is what they use, since any crack can cause a shock.
  • Working with electricity in wet conditions is dangerous because water is an excellent conductor of electricity.
  • Electric tools should not be used in the rain or allowed to become wet by being splashed or dropped into water.
  • If someone is using a tool and feels a tingle, tell them to have it checked out. This could be their only warning!

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