The tool belt is a mark of a tradesman, a hard-working person who knows how to get the job done. Even if you don’t use one at work, chances are you use a tool belt for home maintenance and renovation work. Using a tool belt will help ensure safety while working and improves productivity too.
As an active tradesman, you need to have your tools handy and in order. Carrying your tools on a tool belt allows you to keep your hands free from your tasks. Tool belts are commonly used in a great variety of occupations including; electricians, carpenters, steel workers, plumbers, and construction workers.
Many work injuries have resulted from tools falling out of belts from heights and workers falling and being pinned by a tool in an improperly loaded toolbelt.
A tool belt that is properly organized helps improve convenience and productivity by having the required tools and fasteners at hand. However, wearing tool belts can create hazards when it is overloaded with unnecessary tools or some of the tools are not placed on the right pouch. You can learn more about Tool Belt Safety here.
Important tips when using tool belts:
- Tool belts, bags, pouches, holsters, and other attachments should be clean, well maintained, and fit properly. Check the toolbelt daily before starting your work, and look for defects. If there are flaws, have them repaired before using that tool or the belt.
- Take appropriate precautions so that tools and supplies cannot fall out of the belt or pouch during work on elevated surfaces.
- Use specific tool belts for the type of task you do. Some tool belts are designed for the specific tools used in that task, making the job easier.
- Ensure that appropriate bags, holsters, and pouches for specialty tools are being used and are properly secured on the toolbelt.
- Tape Measures should be clipped securely or placed in a pouch designed to hold tape measures. Do not carry a tape measure in an open pouch designed for nails and screws. If a tape measure falls out of the bag and drops from a roof, ladder, or scaffold, you could injure a coworker.
- Hammer/ax loops should be placed in a position that they do not hinder movement.
- Do not carry tools on a belt that is not designed for your task, for example, drills, screw guns, etc. This might cause injury to you and your workmate when these tools fall.
- Carry tools and sharp objects with the pointed end in the bag or pouch to minimize the chance of injury when you slip or fall.
- Remove the belt while climbing a ladder and lift the toolbelt with a bucket or rope.
- When working at heights using holsters for power tools with cords, keep the cord sets arranged to avoid hazards.
- Do not overload your toolbelt. Plan the activity and load the tool belt with only those tools necessary to complete the job.
How to wear a tool belt for safety:
- Look for a tool belt with lots of pockets– The first thing you need to remember is that your tool belt should have enough pockets. you can have lots of options for your tools, you can also choose different types of tools for your tool belt.
- Primary working tools near dominant hand– You must keep your primary working tools near your dominant hand in the tool belt. In that way, you keep the main items available for you anytime you want. This will make a perfect balance of comfort and control.
- Secondary tools should be on the other side– On this side you can arrange the tools that aren’t used or needed frequently. You can keep the other tools on the second side, in this way, you make the most use of your tools and hands.
- Pockets to the rear for speed and control– When you switch your tool belt pockets to the rear side of your body, it makes it easier for you to bend over more easily for tasks where it is needed. Some work may need you to bend over for a longer period of time. To increase your comfort and efficiency, you must be able to rearrange the tool belt and keep the pockets to the rear side.
- Keep your hands free– Always carry your tools in your tool belt when you are climbing a ladder so that you can grip the handles with your free hands. It is really important for you to maintain this rule as it protects you and the tools you are carrying.
- Moving the heavy center constantly– This is really important as it distributes the load in uniform, and it helps you to keep you pain-free. When you are climbing a ladder or bending over for any work, the center of heaviness always changes. So, you need to change your tool belt accordingly to maintain the center in a way that offers you comfort.
For any tool user, it’s very important to know how to wear a tool belt. If you are a newbie in carpentry, and wondering how to wear your tool belt in a safe way, then these best practices may help you. Some of you might be using a tool belt in the wrong way, and that might cause you problems in the future like severe shoulder or hip damage, and it could give you a lot of pain.
Use the appropriate tool belt for your task and be sure that the tools being carried do not hinder movement or danger when you trip or fall. Plan the work for the day and bring only the tools or fasteners needed to complete the job.