A hammer is an invaluable tool in the construction industry. Typically consisting of a handle with a two-sided head -- the head is flat on one end and curved on the other end -- it's used to install and remove nails. Even if you're familiar with hammers, though, there are certain safety mistakes you should avoid when using them. Hammers can cause injury. By avoiding the five following safety mistakes, you'll be better protected against hammer-related injuries.
#1) Striking With the Side of the Head
When using a hammer, make sure you strike the nail directly with the head's flat end. Striking the nail with the side of the head may have unexpected results. Instead of going down into the workpiece, the nail may become dislodged. To protect against injury, always strike nails using the flat end of the hammer's head. If you need to remove a nail, you can use the opposite end of the head. Just remember to avoid striking nails with the side of the head.
#2) Not Wearing Eye Protection
Don't forget to wear eye protection when using a hammer. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2,000 workers in the United States suffer an eye injury during any given day. Many of these injuries involve splinters that turn into projectiles. If you're hammering a nail into a wooden workpiece and a splinter breaks off, it could cause an eye injury. Fortunately, wearing eye protection will prevent this from happening by shielding your eyes from splinters and other projectiles.
#3) Using a Hammer With a Chipped Head
Before using a hammer, inspect the head to ensure that it's not chipped. Most hammers are designed with a strong and durable head. The head, for instance, is typically made of stainless steel or carbon steel. Even with a steel construction, though, they can break. If the head is chipped, you shouldn't use it. Using a hammer with a chipped head can place you at a greater risk for injury.
#4) Gripping Near the Top
Another safety mistake to avoid when using a hammer is gripping near the top. All manual hammers have a handle. The handle is a long shaft that may or may not contain a textured surface. If you grip the handle near the top, you may struggle to keep it secure. At the same time, your hand will be closer to the head, which can lead to injury if you happen to strike it in the wrong place.
#5) Not Being Aware of Your Surroundings
Always be aware of your surroundings when using a hammer. Whether you are working indoors or outdoors, you should be conscious of what's around you. Take of note of how far away other people and other objects are to ensure a safe distance.