Spotting Safety: Power Tool Trigger Guards

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I hope you’ve never seen this before: a zip lock used to lock down a trigger, either replacing a missing one or on a tool that was never meant to have a trigger lock.

Sure several hours of holding that trigger down while grinding away at a big job can be tiring, but this is not the answer for obvious reasons. Just lose your focus for a second on your grip and you have a dangerous power tool running without anybody controlling it. Or maybe you leave this tool plugged in when the power is out, and can come to life when power is supplied.

In short, only use trigger locks that are part of the power tool that are supposed to be there, and ensure they are used correctly. OSHA recommends constant control switches that have to be held down for the tool to operate, as the preferred device. OSHA is also specific about which tools can have an “on-off” control switch, a constant pressure switch or a “lock-on” control switch.

Tools may only be equipped with trigger locks if they can also be shut off in a single motion using the same finger or fingers. This zip lock clearly does not meet that requirement.

Also some hand-held power tools – circular saws, chain saws, and some percussion tools that don’t have actively locked accessories – can only have a constant pressure switch.

All Spotting Safety Articles:

  • Excavation Cave-ins
  • Scaffolding Footing
  • Scaffolding Toprails
  • Earthmoving Equipment Training
  • Self Supporting Ladders
  • Forklift Counterweighting
  • Power Tool Trigger Guards
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