Cordless Drill Safety

Tips and tricks for easy and safe use

When most people think about power-tool safety, they envision the dangers involved in working with saws and blades and often forget that even smaller tools must be handled with a certain amount of caution. Weekend warriors and even professional handymen are apt to pick up a cordless drill without giving thought to safety precautions, and this carelessness may cause accidents and injuries.

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To avoid these dangers, it is important to learn to use your cordless drill properly; the following tips will help you do so:

  • Read the safety section of your drill's instruction manual. Since a cordless drill is a tool many feel they already know how to use, the instructions are often tossed aside, but this section will tell you within what temperatures and conditions your drill is safe to use.
  • Avoid wearing loose sleeves or clothing that covers your hands. Buttons and loose fabric can become snagged in the rotating equipment, causing injury to your arm or broken drill bits.
  • Beware of hot drill bits. If you have ever accidentally touched a drill bit after finishing a project, you know that the metal can get HOT. Avoid laying your drill down where pets, children, other workers or even you may brush up against the hot bit.
  • Wear safety goggles. Splintering pieces of wood or other material may be projected out from your work area.
  • Look before you drill. Buildings that comply with the National Electric Code should have metal plates covering internal wall wiring, but when drilling into a floor or ceiling, carefully inspect the area for live electrical wires. This may involve going under the house or into the attic to scout the location of your building's wiring. If working in an older structure, have it inspected to make sure it is up to code.
  • Periodically check for product recalls involving your brand of cordless drill. Some models have been recalled due to smoking, melting or fires. Also, regularly check your drill and charger for loose, broken or melted parts.
  • Securely clamp your project to a table or other stable work area to avoid having your hands close to the bit.
  • Keep your drill dry. Although the drill itself has a low enough voltage not to present a danger of electrocution if submerged in water, operating in wet conditions could damage your drill and cause potentially dangerous slipping on your work surface.

Here are a few DON'Ts to remember when operating your cordless drill:

  • DON'T walk or run with your finger on the trigger.
  • DON'T leave the drill unattended in an area with pets or children.
  • DON'T mix and match drills and chargers.
  • DON'T use a cordless drill with loose or damaged parts.
  • DON'T throw out that instruction manual!

By Kat Derrig

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