Cordless Power Tool Safety Toolbox Talk

November 30, 2022
By N. Nicholas, ASP

Cordless power tools can be a good way to save time and effort; however they can also be dangerous if not used properly.

The proper use of a cordless power tool requires some knowledge and understanding of how the tool works. Therefore, always follow the manufacturers instructions and safety guidelines that come with your tool, and make sure you understand how to use it before starting any job.

Injuries From Cordless Power Tools

Every year, thousands of people are injured while using cordless power tools. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if the user had been more aware of and followed basic safety guidelines.

Many injuries occur when people use cordless power tools incorrectly. Injuries such as cuts, impact hazards from flying debris, amputations, electrical shocks, punctures, and musculoskeletal injuries are commonplace on jobsites and even at home.

Some of these injuries can be minor or they can be fatal. Therefore, always follow the safety guidelines in the instruction manual, and never try to do anything that is not specifically stated.

Common Hazards Associated With Cordless Power Tools

When using a cordless power tool, it’s important to be aware of the common hazards that can occur. Some of these hazards include, but is not limited to:

  • Kickback is one of the most common dangers associated with these tools.
  • Entanglement of loose clothing and jewelry.
  • Cordless power tools can generate noise that can damage your hearing if the proper hearing protection is not used.
  • They can also cause lacerations or punctures if they come into contact with your skin.
  • Damage to your eyes caused by flying debris.
  • Respiratory hazards generated from cutting or grinding activities.

How can you stay safe when using cordless power tools?

Always read and follow the manufacturers instruction manual before using any cordless power tool.

This will help you understand how to use the tool safely and properly. Wearing personal protective equipment such as a face mask, face shield, eye protection, and hearing protection, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid wearing loose jewelry or clothing.

Remember to stay alert while using the tool so that you do not accidently cause injury to yourself or others. Never use a cordless power tool while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; this could lead to serious injuries.

Finally, use common sense when operating any cordless power tool- remember that these tools are powerful and can easily cause damage if not used properly.

Safety Toolbox Talk For

Cordless Power Tools

Cordless Power Tools Provide Flexibility to Suit Any Application

Cordless tools have specific requirements to ensure proper functionality and ultimately worker safety.

Remember to always read and follow the manufacturers instruction manual before using any cordless power tool. Wear the proper personal protective equipment as recommended by the manufacturer.

Cordless power tools can include the following

  • Drills
  • Circular Saws
  • Reciprocating Saws
  • Orbital/Belt and Circular Sanders
  • And, other battery operated hand tools.

Use of cordless power tools

  • Manufacturer instructions – carefully read and follow all instructions
  • Switch button – do not hold down while carrying tool
  • Consider the clothing you wear – loose clothing and jewelry can become tangled in moving components.
  • Changing bits, blades and accessories – disconnect battery first to prevent accidental operation
  • Never reach into the point of operation
  • Specified personal protective equipment (PPE) – wear in accordance with your Hazard Assessment, e.g. hearing protection and safety glasses at a minimum


  • Secure your work – use a clamp or vise to hold your work
  • “Live” electrical wires – avoid them by knowing your environment when drilling into a wall, floor or anywhere else
  • Avoid severe burns – never touch the bit after drilling

Circular Saws

  • Blade replacement – make sure it is installed correctly (must be turning in the right direction with locking nut secured)
  • Tilt angle of saw – ensure correct adjustment
  • Dirt at bottom of saw – remove frequently using a tool or stick (do not use fingers)
  • Trigger switch – ensure smooth operation, avoid inadvertently locking unit into “On” position
  • Keep work secure – keep hands and other body parts out of the path of travel

Orbital/Belt & Circular Sanders

  • Review what you will be working on, e.g. some painted surfaces contain pigmented paints that may create a significant air contaminant hazard. Assure proper PPE and that ventilation is specified and used.
  • Metal objects – check work for objects such as staples or nails
  • Dust bag – if equipped, ensure it is emptied frequently
  • Prolonged use – break up work tasks to prevent overuse as vibration can cause injury to hands and fingers
  • Sander – hold by insulated handles

Maintenance of cordless power tools

Maintaining your cordless power tools is important for preventing accidents. Keep them charged and clean so they will work properly each time you use them. If an accident does occur, know what to do in order to protect yourself and others around you.


  • Preventive maintenance program
  • Perform routine scheduled maintenance
  • Read and follow all manufacturer instructions
  • Charging cordless tools
  • Never charge when temperatures are less than 50o or greater than 130o F.
  • Use only the charging system that came with your drill

In conclusion, always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a cordless power tool. Make sure that the tool is properly maintained and that all safety devices are in place and functioning correctly.

Never operate a cordless power tool when tired or impaired by drugs or alcohol. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure that there are no potential hazards nearby that could cause injuries if something went wrong.

If you are unsure about the proper use of the equipment, or have doubts about your ability to safely use a particular cordless power tool, seek professional assistance before attempting to do so.

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