In your arsenal of tools, there are bound to be some that you are more comfortable using than others. Since safety is a vital part of any project, it’s essential to know how each of them, even your cordless drill, can be used safely.
Here are some safety precautions tips to keep in mind:
- Use proper safety gear especially wear eye protection (goggles or safety glasses)
- Always have a full battery and charge them with the appropriate type of charger.
- Keep loose clothing, hair, or jewelry away from moving parts
- Apply the appropriate amount of pressure
- Set your bit properly in the chuck jaws.
Getting into safe habits will not only protect whatever it is that you’re working on, but it will also protect your body.
Isn’t a Cordless Drill Pretty Safe?
Cordless drills are far from being the most dangerous power tool out there, but it doesn’t mean that they are safe. Hearing damage, broken bones or dislocated joints, muscle strain, cuts or abrasions, and eye damage are very real and, unfortunately, common injuries from cordless drills.
What Do You Need?
Many products on the market are meant to help you safely operate your cordless drill. Some of them are designed to help protect your drill and projects, while others are made to protect you, the operator.
First and foremost is your Personal Protective Equipment or PPE. PPE is required by law in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using it at home, too. Let’s take a look at some of the safety items that are out there.
According to Prevent Blindness America, power tools cause nearly 10,000 eye injuries each year, and that’s just the ones people report.
Whether you are hammering, drilling, or cutting, safety glasses or goggles are an essential part of workplace safety. Sawdust, broken bits, hidden inclusions like nails, and debris blown by the drill motor can cause severe damage to the eyes or impair your vision.
Safety glasses even come with different tints to help if you are working in bright or dim lighting. Not all safety glasses and goggles are created equally, so be sure to glance at the International Safety Equipment Association’s guidelines and descriptions of safety ratings.
We all know that breathing in dust can be harmful. A little coughing, scratchy throat, gross stuff in your nose, right? Well, it gets much more severe than that. Breathing in dust, especially from toxic materials, can cause illness or have lasting health implications.
Knowing what you’re drilling into is the first step. The next step is having proper dust protection for the job. Dust masks only go so far and should not be relied upon for most drilling. A respirator offers adequate protection.
Respirators catch particulates like dust from them and keep them from entering your lungs. The filters come with different ratings and use, so be sure to use the proper filter. Also, be sure to replace your filter regularly, as overextended use can cause them to fail.
Again, certain materials can be toxic, irritants, sharp, or hot. Wearing long sleeves will protect your arms, but what about your hands? Well-fitting gloves are the solution.
Gloves and machinery don’t always mix well. If they are too loose of a fit, they can become a hazard and get pulled into a tool. Check here for a good option of working gloves (don’t forget to pick your size).
Hearing is degenerative, which means that your hearing only gets worse and will never get better. Working with power tools, especially for long periods, can cause significant damage to unprotected hearing. Earplugs are suitable for protecting your hearing, but earmuffs are even better.
Gear Acquired, What’s Next?
Once you have your PPE, you’re a lot closer to operating your cordless drill safely. The next thing on the list is to know your drill. The more you know about what you’re using and how to use it properly, the lower the chances that something will go wrong.
Manufacturer websites are a great place to start and may even help you to pick the right drill if you’re in the market. They will list all of their operational and safety features, making it easy to make the right decision. Let’s take a look at some of the procedures and equipment next.
1. Read the Manual
This one may seem a bit obvious, but your cordless drill may have features that you don’t know about or don’t know how to use. Did your drill jerk and suddenly shut off? Maybe it has Dewalt’s E-CLUTCH Anti-Lock Control for safer operation.
2. Charge Your Batteries
It’s always great to have at least two batteries for your cordless drill. That way, as you’re using one battery, the other is charging. If the one you are using runs out of juice, your spare is ready to go!
Also, not every drill has the same reaction to a low battery. Some cordless drills will immediately stop when the battery is low. This feature is meant to protect not only the life of the battery, equipment, and workpiece but also the operator when the drill unexpectedly slows down.
3. Set Your Bit Properly
No matter what sort of cordless drill you have or what kind of bit you are using, setting it properly is essential. If your bit is not set correctly in the chuck, it can spin, fly out, or even bind up and snap, creating an added danger and damage to you, your project, or your cordless drill’s chuck.
4. Secure Your Workpiece
If you aren’t drilling into a wall, floor, or another stable object, you should secure your workpiece. If a bit binds in the piece, it can grab it and spin it at high speeds, damaging the piece and causing severe injuries to you. Using a bench vise or clamps will secure whatever you’re working on.
5. Use a Center Punch
A center punch is used to make an indentation in the material you are drilling into. This allows the bit to have a starting point and keeps it from “walking” and messing up your hole.
6. Drill Pilot Holes
Drilling a pilot hole is much like using a center punch. You use a smaller bit to make a starter hole in your workpiece. It allows you to create a guide for the bit, making your drilling more accurate.
7. Use a Drill Stand
A drill stand is a great idea if you need accuracy but don’t have a drill press. If your cordless drill has a variable speed, mounting it in a drill stand makes it like a small drill press. Plus, it is much safer to use because you can more easily clamp your work down when using it.
8. Watch Your Pressure and Speed
Your drill should be working hard, not you. Applying too much pressure can damage or break the bit and send it flying, burn your workpiece, or damage your cordless drill motor.
Likewise, know the material you are drilling. Woods tend to need a higher speed than metals to drill through. Metals need a slower speed to prevent overheating.
Apply steady pressure and gently push into the workpiece. If your bit isn’t going through the material smoothly, you either have a dull bit, or you’re using the wrong type.
9. Use the Proper Drill Bit
Drill bits come in all shapes and sizes, and there is a bit for nearly every material you could drill through. Metal, glass, wood, and masonry have their unique designs, so be sure to choose which one is best for the job you’re doing.
Ready, Set, Go!
With this information, you now know how to use a cordless drill safely. Always follow safety protocols when working with power tools. Neglecting these things can turn a fun project into a lousy day very quickly.
Cheers, tools owners!