Hand Tools Checklist

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Labor Occupational Health Program

Summary Statement

A checklist on hand tools, including items such as hazard identification, selection and inspection. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

These tailgate/toolbox talks were developed for use under California OSHA regulations. The complete set is available from the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley. For ordering information, visit the website (www.lohp.org) The American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has adapted these talks to apply to federal OSHA regulations. To contact ACGIH, visit its web site (www.acgih.org).

Date Prepared:_________________________ By:_______________________
Project Name/No.______________________ Location:__________________

  • Check the box if the statement is true.

  • Citations in brackets are from Title 8 of the California Administrative Code.


  • The company has a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) that meets all Cal/OSHA requirements. It includes identification of hazards on the site involving hand tools, as well as regular inspections, accident investigation, and correction of hazardous conditions. [1509]


  • The right tool is used for the job; tools are used within their design limitations. [3556(b)]
  • Tools are used only their intended purpose. [3556(b)]
  • Tools don't force the hand or wrist into awkward positions.
  • Tools are well-balanced.
  • Tools fit the hand comfortably.
  • Tools are not so heavy that they strain the arm and shoulder.
  • Tools do not require excessive force to use.
  • Tool handles are designed to minimize the grip force needed. (For example, they are not slippery.)
  • Handles have soft grips that don't cut into your hand.
  • Only cutting tools are used to cut metal strapping or banding that secures cargo. [3330(b)]
  • Come-alongs and extensions on wrenches, jacks, and hoists are designed for the equipment they are used with.


  • Tools are inspected daily before use and are kept clean and in good repair. They are checked for sharpness, chips, “mushrooming,” wear, and metal fatigue before use. Periodic checks are made for tightness of bolts, nuts, and screws. [1699(a)]
  • Damaged, defective, or worn tools are tagged and removed from service until repaired. [1699(a), 3556(a), and 3556(c)]


  • Workers use only tools with which they have experience, or on which they have been trained. [1510(b)]
  • Tools are used only on secure and stable work surfaces. Work is secured with a vise or clamps if necessary.
  • Workers using tools stand on a clean, dry surface to prevent slipping. [1513 and 3273(a)]
  • Work surfaces are adjusted to minimize reaching, bending, and other awkward postures.
  • Tasks are varied so the same tool isn't used all day, straining the hand.
  • Work areas are well-lighted. [1523]
  • Knives are directed away from the body during cutting. (Except draw knives.)
  • Hard hammers are not used to strike hardened tools.
  • Spark resistant tools are used where sources of ignition are prohibited due to the presence of flammable materials. [1534(b)]
  • If necessary, personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided by the company and worn by workers. The types used are appropriate for the work and give adequate protection. [1514]
  • Workers using tools always wear safety glasses with side shields or other eye/face protection. Eye and face protection meets the requirements of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z 87.1 1989, American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection. [3382(d)(1)]
  • When work with tools involves potential risk of cuts, burns, harmful physical or chemical agents, or radioactive material, workers use appropriate hand protection. (Exception: Not required if gloves might become caught in moving parts or machinery). [1520]
  • If gloves are used, tools can still be gripped easily. (Tools with larger handles may be needed.)
  • When using tools, workers potentially exposed to foot injuries from crushing or penetrating actions, hot surfaces, falling objects, or hazardous substances, or who work in abnormally wet locations, use appropriate foot protection such as steel-toed safety shoes and/or boots. [3385]
  • Workers exposed to noise in excess of 90 dB use hearing protection. [1521(g) and 5096(b)]


  • Tools are stored in pouches or other appropriate containers when they are not being used. Sharp edged or pointed tools (knives, etc.) are kept in sheaths, not in workers’ pockets.
  • Tools are not left on ladders, scaffolds, or overhead work spaces. [1699(a)]
  • Tool belts are used, especially when workers are on ladders.
  • Tools are protected from contact with oil, hot surfaces, and chemicals that might damage them.
  • Tools are kept clean.
  • Sharp tools are kept sharp.


  • If there has been more than one ergonomic injury within a year to workers doing the same task, the company has set up a program to identify and correct these hazards and provide relevant training. [5110]