A recent mishap on the job with a personally owned power tool is worthy of making all employees aware of the hazards that may be an issue for employees who use personal tools and equipment in their work environment.
An employee brought his own portable table saw from home to perform the task of cutting two-by-four lumber pieces since a company table saw was not available for his use. The employee's saw was not equipped with required safety features, such as the saw blade guard and splitter. During the cutting operation, the employee reached over the saw blade to retrieve a piece of lumber from behind the blade.
Unfortunately, his arm came in contact with the saw blade rotating at full speed. The resulting laceration injury was severe. Consequently, the injured employee had to receive emergency medical treatment and disability compensation from an injury received while using his own equipment that wasn't properly safeguarded. Also, the injury incident resulted in an occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) inspection, and the employer received an OSHA citation for having an unguarded saw available for use in the workplace.
Here are a few key points to remember regarding using your personal tools at work:
1. If you bring your personal tools or equipment to the job and they are used to perform various tasks associated with your employment, your employer is ultimately responsible for the safe condition of those tools and equipment.
2. The company has the right to inspect all personal tools and equipment to ensure they are in a safe condition with all of the necessary required safety features to meet recognized safety standards.
3. If your personal tools and equipment are not in compliance with recognized standards, the company can require you to upgrade them to be in compliance, or have them removed from the job immediately.
4. The company can also require you to perform necessary maintenance on tools and equipment according to the manufacturer's specifications.
Your personal tools and equipment may be owned by you, but from OSHA's perspective, they become the responsibility of the company when they are used in the workplace. Everyone is best served when all tools and equipment utilized in the workplace are industrial use grade and well maintained. Your safety depends on it!
5X5: Review any accidents or near misses that occurred from the past week.