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Drilling Safety Tips

by Jenny Mae Talaver August 04, 2020

Drilling Safety Tips

Drilling is one of the most common and significant tasks in construction, crafting, and home renovation industry. You can do it with many different drilling tools such as handheld ones, oscillating tools, or power drills. As useful as drilling is to any tradesmen, it is also one of the most dangerous tasks to do. You risk injuries or worse, death if you fail to follow proper drilling safety measures.

Whether you are a construction worker, DIYer, woodworker, or craftsman, you need to learn how to use a drill safely. This helps ensure efficient work everytime.

To help you drill efficiently every time, the Rock Hard Toolz team presents this helpful guide on Drilling Safety Tips

In this guide, you will learn the following things about using a drill safely:

  1. Risks in Drilling
  2. Safety Gear to Equip While Drilling
  3. What to Do
  4. What Not To Do
  5. Conclusion

Risks in Drilling

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, drilling injuries are among the leading causes of emergency cases reported at hospitals. Every year over 2000 people rush to the emergency rooms due to such major injuries.

A few injuries you risk while drilling include:

  1. DUST INHALATION - Drilling can cause debris of dust to float around the air while you are working. This dust, mostly silica dust, is hazardous to your lungs if inhaled. They can cause great damage if you are exposed for long periods of time.
  2. KICKBACK INJURIES - Common among beginners, these happen when the drill head pushes back on the machine upon coming in contact with a hard surface. This happens due to jamming of your drill. 
  3. BURNS - If you drill into strong and thick materials such as metal and concrete, your drill will heat up. But if you accidentally touch the drill head, bit, or the material you drill into, you may burn your skin or limbs.
  4. ELECTROCUTION - If you are not careful, you might be endangered by any electrical wiring or plumbing lines in a wall or underground that you might accidentally hit with the drill bit.

With these hazards in mind, the government labor agencies worldwide, especially the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires all employers to train their employees on how to use, maintain, and safely handle drills.

One of the most steps to secure yourself at work, while drilling is to get equipped with the proper safety gear.

Safety Gear

1. Safety Glasses - Larger and squarish-shaped, safety glasses protect your eyes from all debris and dust that flies off while you drill. This must be a clear, white pair of glasses so you can clearly see your work progress.

2. Face Mask - Be it a disposable or cloth mask, you need to wear this at work to protect yourself. Wearing a face mask prevents you from inhaling all potential harmful dust and debris from the drilling operation.

3. Gloves - The gloves are necessary for maintaining a steady grip on the tool. They also reduce the discomfort that would otherwise arise from the vibrations. Plus, they protect your hands from the heat generated during drilling too.

Wearing gloves protects your hands from these jagged and sharp edges and since the garage isn’t the cleanest of places, gloves are an especially good idea when you are using cutting fluid/oil.

4. Apron - This is another essential clothing to equip yourself while working. This protects your body from flying pieces of debris and cutting fluid/oil. Most importantly, this also keeps away your clothes from the drill. 

What To Do

Here are the things you MUST do whenever you are drilling. Not doing this will risk your safety, your tool's condition and your work quality.

Preparation:

  1. Wear safety glasses, face mask, gloves and apron.
  2. Cleanup your workspace.
  3. Inspect all cords within your workspace for any damages. Store securely all damaged cords.
  4. Read the manual of your drill from cover to cover. Follow the tool brand's instructions when selecting and using a bit or attachment.
  5. Clean the drill - use a brush for cleaning chips.
  6. Keep drill bits always sharp.
  7. Double-check to see if any chuck keys and wrenches are still attached
  8. Select the bit or attachment that matches both the drill and the task.
  9. Make a trial run if using a new drill before drilling into your desired material.

Drilling:

  1. Use the auxiliary (second) handle for larger work or continuous operation.
  2. Tighten the chuck securely.
  3. Secure workpiece with clamp or vice to prevent wobbling.
  4. Turn off your drill before changing or adjusting bit or attachments.
  5. Slow the rate of feed just before breaking through the surface.
  6. Drill a small "pilot" hole before drilling large holes.
  7. Remove the drill when you feel a block and clear the blockage before proceeding.
After Drilling:
  1. Turn off the drill and disconnect it from the power socket. Pull it by the plug and not the cord.
  2. Clean up the surface you drilled into. Polish and brush over it, if necessary.
  3. Clean the drill and brush off all dust and debris incurred from the operation.
  4. Store the drill in its bag or case. Pick up and store the drill bits in the same bag or in a secure place in your toolbox.
  5. If the drill is damaged during the operation, call a local technician or repairman. 
  6. Clean your workspace well. Sweep up all dust and debris.

What Not To Do

After knowing what to do with a drill, here are the things you absolutely must avoid. Doing any of these can risk injuries, broken tools or damaged materials.

DO NOT:

  1. Use baggy or loose clothes, jewelry or let your hair flow free.
  2. Use a bent drill bit.
  3. Exceed the manufacturer's recommended maximum drilling capacities.
  4. Use a hole saw cutter without the pilot drill.
  5. Use high speed steel (HSS) bits without cooling or using lubrication.
  6. Try to free a jammed bit by starting and stopping the drill. 
  7. Reach under or around stock being drilled.
  8. Overreach -always keep proper footing and balance.
  9. Carry the drill by its power cord.
  10. Drill in wet or muddy locations. 
  11. Drill with too much force into hard material.
  12. Use extension cords that have any bare wires or frayed insulation 

Conclusion

A drill is one of the most essential tools for tradesmen and DIYers alike. It can be used for prep work or repair tasks in many jobsites and around the home. But to take the most advantage out of any drilling tool, you need to learn and understand safety measures. You need to master efficiency by following all safety rules to protect yourself and your work.

Your drilling work is only as efficient as the skill and safety precautions used by the person working on it.

We hope this guide has helped you know your drill better. Get drilling more efficiently with Rock Hard Toolz!

To learn about the drill and other tools of the trade for the construction professional, go to Rockhard Tools. We offer you everything from product reviews to how-to guides.  Rockhard Tools provides top quality masonry drill bits, jobber twist drill bits, anchors and fastening systems, hacksaw blades, jig saw blades and more.

 

Jenny Mae Talaver
Jenny Mae Talaver



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