For over three million years, tools have been the cornerstone of man creating everything you see in the world. Whether you are an experienced craftsman or a brand new DIYer, having the right tool for the job at hand is essential to a successful building project. However, in addition to having the right tool close by, it's also imperative to have the right glove at the ready! Why?
Our UT2952 provides both cut and impact protection.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 41,800 workplace injuries occurred in 2019 from the use of hand tools. Many of these injuries involved impact with equipment, which is why you're seeing more and more work gloves being made with impact protection. Injuries often occur due to the energy transferred from the tool or when a worker or materials fall. Here are a couple of other causes of hand tool injuries:
- 23,000 injuries involved the tool slipping, making grip a vital feature for any work glove.
- 25,000 injuries involved the actual tool itself. It's imperative to check the device for imperfections each time before using it.
Keep in mind that out of 72,110 injuries that involved cuts and lacerations, roughly 62,000 involved contact with objects and equipment. And 7,000 of the 72,110 total cut injuries involved the hands. So, it's safe to calculate that most hand tool injuries involving objects and equipment also involve cut injuries.
Our Ninja BNF gloves provide users with unmatched grip, perfect for keeping tools from slipping out of hand.
Construction sites are governed by laws and regulations to ensure safety precautions are being followed to help prevent injury to workers. One of those governing laws is OSHA's 1910.32, which ensures construction workers are provided personal protective equipment (PPE) at no charge. Construction workers mustn't avoid wearing this PPE, as it protects against many of the hand injuries that occur from using tools.
To be effective on any construction site, tradespeople need the right tools designed for their task. This article highlights some of the essential tools found in construction toolboxes and outlines what kinds of safety precautions should be practiced when operating them.
Top Tool Brands
Who makes the best hand tools in the world? Well, that question is one that is debated daily. Everyone has their preferred tool for the job they perform, much like they have their preferred work glove. So we can't answer who makes the best hand tools, but we can introduce you to some of the top-selling brands.
Here are some of the most-searched brands across the internet:
- Bauer® – is a private brand for Harbor Freight Tools.
- Black and Decker® - has been providing innovative tools for over a century.
- Bosch® – formed in 2003, the Robert Bosch Tools Corporation is a world leader in power tools, with over 100 types of power tools.
- Cornwell® – since 1919, Cornwell Tools has been selling direct to professionals.
- Craftsman® – has been a trusted brand for well over a century.
- DeWalt® – since 1922, DeWalt has been at the forefront of tool innovation.
- Estwig® - since 1923, Estwig has been manufacturing tools to both tradesman and craftsmen.
- Klein Tools® - have served tradesman since 1857.
- Kobalt® – represents Lowe's Home Improvement's lineup of tools.
- Kreg® – is known for its assortment of woodworking tools.
- Husky® - is Home Depot's house brand of tools.
- Makita® - is a global brand offered in over 40 countries.
- Matco® - offers a product lineup consisting of over 13,000 items.
- Milwaukee® - is known by construction workers as a leading brand that offers superior durability.
- Snap On® - may be one of the most recognized automotive tool brands, and is sold in more than 130 countries.
- Stanley® - offers tools that have been used by contractors since 1843.
- Tekton® - are specialized tools used in mechanical settings.
Now, let's cover the main types of tools you will find used by construction laborers and tradespeople.
The simplest definition of a drill is "a tool that uses rotation or a chipping motion to make a hole." Drills can be used for various purposes in a variety of fields, from manufacturing to construction. Construction drills make holes using a drill bit, but they can also be modified to fasten screws, bolts, or other fasteners by using a driver bit.
There are many types of drills used in construction. Below is a list of some of the most common drill types and how they are used at a construction site:
1. Drill Driver
A fundamental drill driver will have a piece that opens and closes around a bit. When in operation, the only thing it does is spin the drill bit clockwise or counterclockwise. The drill driver's primary function is drilling holes in materials such as plastic, wood, and metal. It can also be useful for securing fasteners into these same materials.
2. Hammer Drill
Also known as a hammer drill driver, the hammer drill is designed like the drill driver, but an added hammer mechanism pushes the bit in and out to chip away at concrete or rock. This is also a multifaceted tool since you can turn the hammer mechanism off and use it for regular drilling.
3. Rotary Hammer
Like the hammer drill, a rotary hammer, also called a combination hammer, has a hammering mechanism to chip away at materials. However, the rotary hammer has a far more powerful mechanism and delivers greater power than the hammer drill. A rotary hammer can be used as a jackhammer during the demolition stage, and it can drill a hole into concrete, brick, or stone.
4. Ground Auger
A ground auger is used to remove dirt from the ground. Faster and more effortless than a shovel, this kind of drill makes life easier when you're making a hole in the ground or through the ice. With this tool, any construction worker will be ready to undertake any hole-digging task!
The only things that stand between a successful drywall project and one that will leave you pulling your hair out with frustration are the right tools. The following tools are essential for a successful drywall project.
1. Drywall Knives
You will want to get an assortment of drywall knives in the following sizes: 4-inch, 6-inch, and 12-inch. Be sure to get drywall knives specifically, as other putty knives won't work in the same way. You will need the various sizes since the 4- and 6-inch blades are perfect for slopping mud and for taping, while the 12-inch is used later for feathering and final coats.
A Knife Helps Cut Drywall
2. Abrasive and Non-Abrasive Sanding Sponges
An abrasive sanding sponge is just what it sounds like – a sponge with one abrasive side while the other side has a smoother surface. This sponge should not be relied on for all sanding purposes – keep it for touch-ups only.
The non-abrasive sponge is more like a regular sponge and does not have any rough surfaces. This kind of sponge is perfect for wet sanding.
3. Jab Saw
This highly specialized tool is used only to cut holes in drywall. It's a serrated knife, about 6-8 inches in length, with a tip that can penetrate drywall. However, it is not so sharp that you run the risk of cutting yourself. This folding jab saw from Klein Tools® is a popular option in the marketplace.
4. Cordless Drill
Professional drywallers today use screw guns instead of hammer and nails to fasten drywall. Corded drills can cause frustration because they're more challenging to use when trying to control the drill's torque. The cordless DeWalt® Combo Kit Brushless Drywall Screw Gun is a popular option.
5. Drywall Hammer
There are two reasons a drywall hammer is essential to your drywall project. First, a drywall hammer is much lighter than a regular hammer, which means there will be less damage to the drywall when it comes time to finish it. Second, the hammer's design is round and flat, which prevents nicks and dents to your drywall. The Estwing Drywall Hammer is a highly recommended choice.
Here are some of the essential tools that every HVAC specialist should have in their toolbox.
Screwdrivers in various sizes are essential since there are screws in just about every aspect of an HVAC system, from thermostats to vents. Find a screwdriver that offers variety in size and type for screwing and unscrewing tasks. We recommend this multi-bit screwdriver from Klein Tools®.
2. Tie Tensioning Tool
These tools provide tension and cut the plastic ties used in HVAC systems. A popular choice is this tool from Klein Tools®, which features comfort grips.
3. Metal Shears Attachment
These shears cut materials such as sheet metal, corrugated metal, and ducts. The DeWalt® Metal Shears attachment will work with most impact drivers and drills.
Three of the most common types of grinders are angle, surface, and die.
- Angle grinders are used when an end portion of material needs to be ground down at an angle to fit correctly. The disc in an angle grinder is changeable and turns the grinder into a tool for many other purposes such as sanding and polishing. Since it works on angles and not just flat surfaces, this type of grinder is frequently used on construction sites. The DeWalt® angle grinder, the Black and Decker® brand, and the Makita® angle grinder are three of the most popular grinders in the marketplace.
- Surface grinders work on cast iron, steel, and aluminum materials to create a specific kind of finished surface.
- Die grinders are called such because they were originally used to grind the tool's precise die shape. These grinders are now often used for finer sanding and polishing.
Ironworkers are those who construct the structural framework of a building. They have their own set of essential tools to take care of the job at hand. In the above image, we showcase an ironworker welding and wearing MCR Safety welding protection. We have an entire page devoted to welding, so we encourage any ironworker to check out the gear we offer to protect workers when using welding tools.
Here are a few of the other ironworking tools you'll find used on construction sites:
1. Diagonal Cutting Pliers
These pliers are designed to make rebar work easier. They are used to cut the wire and small pins that can't be reached with more comprehensive tools. These pliers from Klein Tools® are a popular worker choice.
2. Flame-Resistant Canvas Bag
To add additional safety, ironworkers need this flame-resistant canvas bag. Be sure the gear you use meets the legal requirements of NFPA-170 for flame resistance. Many ironworkers choose this bag from Klein Tools®.
3. Spud Wrench
Also known as a construction wrench, a spud wrench aligns holes in steel construction frames. Ironworkers essentially use them when lining up girders and beams during building construction. This spud wrench from Klein Tools® is highly regarded in the industry.
Other Essential Construction Tools
Our list above is by no means exhaustive of the tools every construction project will need to be successful. While not necessarily specific to one trade, it would be a good idea to have these tools readily available as well:
- A standard tape measure
- A saw
- A variety of levelers and measuring squares
- A nail puller
- A chisel
In addition to the above list, power tools can make a tough job easier and are a must for many tasks. We've mentioned several helpful power tool choices above, but here are some more you're likely to find on a construction site:
- Concrete mixer
- Impact wrench
- Nail gun
Injuries and OSHA
When using any of the tools we've discussed, it's essential always to have safety in mind. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides 706 pages detailing injuries with handheld power tools. With 20 incidents listed per page, that is over 14,000 power tool-related injuries. We stress this point because safety is often overlooked on job sites, and, as the numbers indicate, it should never be ignored.
As you've seen above, there are many other tools outside of power tools. Tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, and handsaws pose a risk to workers just as much as power tools. Workers can be subject to cuts, puncture wounds, and hand injuries from various tools or workplace hazards. With sharp edges and the risk of tools being dropped from above, workers should follow necessary safety precautions to prevent injury. Here are some safety precautions to consider adopting:
- Use tools designed for the task at hand. Don't use a wrench to drive in a nail; that is the job of a hammer.
- Repair or get rid of older, worn, or dull tools.
- Handle sharp tools with the hazardous edges pointed away from your body.
- Utilize vises to hold materials that are being cut, filed, or screwed.
- Maintain a good grip on tools. This is when a nice pair of work gloves go a long way.
- Use the proper safety guards at all times.
Now, let's make the message of safety awareness around hand tools a part of everyday talks.
Toolbox Safety Talks
When using any of the tools we mentioned in this article, always ensure safety comes first. An accident can occur within seconds, causing severe injury. For those who work at a construction site, the best way to keep safety a top priority is by holding toolbox talks around hand tool safety.
A Toolbox Talk is an informal group discussion where each session has a different safety focus. These talks are used within companies to keep safety at the forefront of everyone's mind and educate workers on staying safe. Providing these types of discussions to workers can reinforce the OSHA standards and regulations that construction workers must abide by at work.
Here are some educational resources that will help you create your safety toolbox talk:
We also encourage you to check out safettoolboxtopics.com. They provide a wide range of information on topics to create additional toolbox talks, from eye injuries to flying objects.
How to break concrete with hand tools?
Why do construction companies require workers to bring their own hand tools?
- Most construction workers are skilled tradesmen, like carpenters and drywallers. These trades bring their tools to the job site.
How does the use of a basic hand tool like a screwdriver affect your health?
- As we highlighted above, hand tool injuries are one of the primary injuries affecting workers. Screwdrivers can slip and cause damage.
How to organize hand tools?
Who makes Hercules® tools?
Does Lowe's rent tools?
- Yes, you can rent commercial-grade tools at Lowe's. Check out their rental program for additional details.
Who makes Kobalt® tools?
Who bought Craftsman® tools?
- Stanley Black and Decker® bought the Craftsman® brand in 2017.
Who sells Craftsman® tools?
- Like MCR Safety work gloves and PPE, Craftsman® tools are sold by nationwide distributors and retailers. You can find a local retailer near you by clicking here.
What hand tools are made in the USA?
- Protoolsreviews.com has an entire article devoted to the subject. The brands we mentioned earlier, DeWalt®, Craftsman®, and Klein Tools®, are three brands made in the USA.
Protecting the Most Important Tool
You work hard - we know that! And we also know that your hands are the most valuable tool you'll ever operate. They are what distinguishes humanity from all the other living creatures on the planet. Without hands, society would have no significant buildings built or houses erected to keep us protected from the elements. So doesn't it make sense to keep this most crucial tool protected when utilizing hand tools?
And, it's not only your hands you must be concerned with when handling tools. If a tool becomes airborne, your eyes are in jeopardy of being injured, too. That is why all construction workers must wear safety glasses and safety goggles. Also, if tools fall, you'll need to be wearing steel toe boots! Whether you are protecting your eyes, hands, feet, or other parts of your body at risk during construction projects, MCR Safety knows how to help.
We understand that each construction sub-industry uses different tools, and workers are exposed to different environments. This is why we've broken up each industry onto its specific industry page. We highlight each industry overall, along with some of the most common hazards workers face within that industry. Click the next construction image to see our list of construction trades and sub-industries.
MCR Safety's dedicated Construction Industry resource page.
MCR Safety PPE
MCR Safety products can be purchased through any of our 700+ nationwide distributors. In addition to selling our PPE product lineup, industrial distributors also stock most of the tools mentioned above. If you have any interest in the tools we've mentioned, we can also put you in touch with a local MCR Safety distributor who stocks both PPE and tools. All you have to do is leave us your contact information by clicking the image below.
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We welcome any comments, feedback, or suggestions for how we can best protect people at work.
For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It’s all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.