Basic Safety for Using Hand Hammers

A hammer and nails.

Hand hammers are the most common hammers in use today. These hammers find their way into most homes, and into each and every tool shed. These basic hammers are meant to be held in one hand, and are used to pound nails into walls, wood, and metals. People use them to do many things like close paint cans or pull out nails.

Unfortunately, these hammers also cause a large number of injuries to those who are not careful with where they are swinging the hammer. Some people suffer face injuries from accidental hammer strikes or from the recoil and debris. Here are some basic tips to help use your hammer safely.

Check the Hammer

A hammer and other tools.

A major part of hammer safety that is often ignored is the state of the hammer itself. The hammer should be secure. If the handle or head of the hammer is loose, it should not be used. Be sure to check the hammer for any cracks or chips. Any hammer with cracks in the hammer or handle, and any hammer with a chip on the head, should not be used. These imperfections can cause the hammer to break, which could cause immediate injury.

Strike the Surface Squarely

When striking with a hammer, hit the surface squarely. Do not attempt to hit the nail (or another object) on an angle, or at a weird angle. Do not attempt to use a “glancing blow” with the hammer. Using weird angles, or attempting to use glancing blows, will cause hand injuries. Hitting the surface wrong will cause you to lose control of the hammerhead.

Use Goggles

Goggles are an important part of hand hammers that many people fail to realize. When hammering, debris is likely. Wood can splinter, metal can chip or crack, and walls can slightly crumble. All of these materials can cause eye injury. Safety goggles will completely eliminate this potential for injury.

Use Taps

A hammer and nails on the ground.

When hammering something into another surface, start with small taps. These small taps will secure the point into the surface, making for a steady object. Hitting a steady object will reduce the chance for injury to the hand.

Swing Carefully Upward

While you want power in your hammering, exercise caution and patience. A hand hammer should not be thrown back wildly, as this can lead to face injuries. Carefully draw back the hammer and use your wrist to generate the power while moving down. Swinging wildly can lead to hand injuries as well. A wild swing may or may not land on the intended target.

Hand hammer safety is easy, but is unknown to many. Simply take the time to hammer correctly; it will save you from injury.