Tips: Power Tool Safety

THE same yard tools that help us trim, edge, weed and mow can pose outdoor hazards if safety is ignored.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that 8 percent of accidental electrocutions in the United States each year are related to small appliances. Another 7 percent are attributed to power tools, and 4 percent are linked to lawn, garden and farming equipment.

Oncor Electric Delivery offers tips to help people avoid injury while making the most of labor-saving yard and gardening equipment. Before flipping the "on" switch, a basic inspection is in order to see that:

  • The tool is intended for outdoor use and is certified by a recognized testing lab. A tag or label on either the tool or the power cord will indicate that the equipment was designed and manufactured in accordance with established safety standards.
  • Cords, plugs and wiring are in good condition.
  • Extension cords are intended for outdoor use. Extension cord gages should match the amperage rating of the power tool.
  • Safety guards or shields on mowers, saws and other outdoor tools are in place. Never remove the safety guard from an electric-powered tool or appliance.

Once tools and accessories are inspected, the following safety rules will help protect you as well as children, pets, and other bystanders:

  • Carry power tools by the handle, never by the cord.
  • When using an electrical device, hold it by the insulated gripping surface to avoid electrical shock.
  • Turn off and lock appliances when installing attachments such as mower baskets or saw blades.
  • Never leave a power tool unattended, even temporarily. If there is a key, remove it. Put the tool where children cannot misuse it.
  • Keep the power cord and extension cords out of way -- not draped over a hedge or in the path of the mower, for example.
  • Wear safety goggles or other protection when mowing, trimming or edging. Avoid loose clothing or jewelry that could get caught in moving parts.
  • If an appliance cord becomes hot, or if the power tool has tripped a protective device such as a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), avoid using it until it has been checked by an authorized service provider or professional electrician.

Visit http://www.oncor.com for more electrical safety tips.

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