Avoid Accidents and Injury, With These 9 Impact Wrench Safety Tips
Last updated: Monday, July 24, 2017
Impact wrenches can be a great tool, offering significantly more torque than a regular, hand-operated wrench, making it easy to install and remove nuts and bolts in a wide variety of different applications. However, and as with any other power tool, it’s important to know what you’re doing before you get starting with an impact wrench to minimise the risk of accident or injury.
Below we’ve listed 9 safety tips that you should keep in mind, not just when operating an impact wrench, but with any other power tool, as many of these tips will be applicable to most tools. We hope that you find this list useful and that you take its items into consideration before undertaking your next job or project.
1. Read the Manual
We’ve all done it – opened a shiny new tool and immediately thrown the manual away – and it’s not just us, it’s common for people to disregard manuals altogether, opting to wing-in rather than take the time to follow manufacturer instructions on how to properly operate a power tool. Unfortunately, this is something that could lead to problems later, as using your impact wrench without getting to know the basics of how your model works could easily result in accidents and injury.
In addition to instructions on how to safely handle your impact wrench, it’s manual will contain information on how to properly care for the tool – information that will increase its lifespan. Instruction manuals are also a crucial resource, should you need to replace any part of your impact wrench, as it will provide a full list of replacement parts and their respective numbers, so make sure to keep your manual around, as you may need it in the future.
2. Prepare Before Using Your Impact Wrench
The simplest thing that can maximise safety when using any power tool is preparation – something that can go a long way in helping you to avoid any potential mishaps whilst operating your impact wrench.
Before starting any project, make sure to remove clutter in or around your work area, and that the floor is dry. Next, you’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary safety gear for the task at hand – as you don’t want to injure your self should something break or fall off of your impact wrench whilst using it.
3. Wear the Correct Protective Eyewear
As with any power tool, it’s important to wear protective eyewear when using an impact wrench. A good pair of safety goggles are essential when operating such a tool, and should be, if they aren’t already, in your tool box.
Depending on the job or project, you may want to consider additional safety gear. This could include gloves, a hardhat, or a thick jacket, all of which offer you protection in the event of an accident or other mishap.
4. Check Your Impact Wrench Before Use
Before using your impact wrench you should check it for any obvious faults or damage. What this means in practical terms is looking for any missing screws, loose cords, or unusual sounds that could indicate that some part of the tool has come loose or broken off.
The last thing you want is to turn your impact wrench on for it to tear itself apart, throwing dangerous pieces flying into the air around you. To avoid this it’s important to not only check just before use but to perform regular maintainenece on your impact wrench, instructions for which will be found in the tool’s manual.
5. Keep Your Impact Wrench Properly Lubricated
Unlike air-powered impact wrenches that require daily lubrication, a cordless impact wrench should only be lubricated once every few months, depending on how frequently it is used and its applications. Ensuring that your impact wrench is properly lubricated will not only improve safety but also performance and lifespan of the tool.
When lubricating an impact wrench, be sure to do so in areas and on parts which generate excessive noise when powered on. Should you notice a significant change in noise, or a drop in performance, it could be a good time to wipe off old lubricant and re-apply. If you’re unsure of how to correctly lubricating your impact wrench, simply refer to it’s manual.
6. Use the Right Accessories with Your Impact Wrench
When operating an impact wrench it is important to use the right type of accessories, particularly when it comes to sockets. An impact wrench should be used with specially designed impact sockets, not regular ones, as this can both impede performance and pose a significant safety risk.
Regular sockets aren’t designed to handle the high-torque that impact wrenches deliver. This is due to them being made from less durable, brittle materials – like Chrome – which are just not up to the job. The excessive vibration that an impact wrench emits can shatter and break these sockets, posing a serious injury risk. Instead, use impact sockets that work to absorb these vibrations and impacts, thanks to the softer, more malleable materials they’re made from.
Using the wrong sockets with an impact wrench can present other problems, notably that they can wear and split the tool’s anvil – the most expensive part of the tool – which, considering the relatively inexpensive cost of impact sockets, is just not worth the risk. If you haven’t already done so, picking up an impact socket kit is the way to go.
7. Keep Your Work Area Tidy
As already stated in this article – it’s important to ensure that your work area is clear and tidy before beginning any project. This doesn’t just apply to the start of a project – it’s important to keep your work area clear and tidy throughout, helping to keep it free from hazards. Should you trip of fall, the last thing you want is to hit an object on the way down – something that could turn a minor slip into a medical emergency.
Keeping your work area free of distractions is also important, as a lack of attention on the task at hand is perhaps the most common cause of injury when using power tools. If you’re working on a project at home, it’s a good idea to inform family members of what you’re doing and to request that they leave you to it.
In busy workshops, where this isn’t possible, due to numerous people moving around a site doing different tasks simultaneously, it’s even more important to keep your work area clear to avoid injuring yourself and others.
8. Use Your Impact Wrench Correctly
Before using any tool it’s important that you learn how to use it correctly, as not knowing how to operate power tools properly is one of the leading causes of accidents and injury.
Inexperience and overconfidence are among the most significant causes of injury when operating power tools, and are common among novice, home DIY enthusiasts, who take on projects that require tools they have no experience with. If you fall into this category, make sure to learn what you can about how to correctly use your impact wrench before starting, using resources such as YouTube, online articles, and more experienced friends.
It’s also worth considering that it’s not just yourself that is at risk. Incorrectly using an impact wrench could cause all sorts of damage – to your property, your car, or your work area, all of which could become a huge problem for your wallet.
9. Store Your Impact Wrench in a Safe Place
After you’re done with any power tool it’s important to store it away in a safe place to avoid any accidents or injuries – this is especially true for those of you with pets or children – as an impact wrench left lying around could lead to them getting seriously hurt.
Make sure to store your tools in a safe place that only you have access to, and if necessary, it may also be a good idea to keep them somewhere you can lock them away.
So there you have it, our list of 9 safety tips for using an impact wrench. We hope that you heed our advice and follow these tips on your next project, as safety is incredibly important when working with power tools and can be the difference between a job well done, and a visit to the hospital.