A sledgehammer is a heavier version of the common hammer; it is primarily used in heavy-duty construction and demolition work. Because of its heavy weight and forcefulness, construction workers often use sledgehammers to drive beams or stakes into the ground or to demolish existing masonry.
If you are planning to use a sledgehammer in your work, its safe use requires following some key safety precautions.
1. Ensure Adequate Clearance
Before operating a sledgehammer, make sure there are no obstructions on the floor that you might trip on, as this can lead to serious injury. Also ensure that there is enough room around you so that you can swing the hammer freely. Make sure people are a safe distance away, and that you have secure footing in your work area.
2. Wear Safety Goggles
When you use a sledgehammer, particles often chip off and fly around; these particles can cause serious injuries if they land on your face or eyes. Therefore, it is important to protect your face and eyes with tough safety goggles and a mask.
3. Wear Protective Clothing, a Helmet, and Thick Gloves
Wear a thick jacket to shield your body when you operate a sledgehammer; protect your head with a thick helmet as well, as injuries to the head can be fatal. Wear thick, comfortable gloves so that you can use the sledgehammer with ease, and avoid getting calluses on your palms.
4. Keep the Sledgehammer in an Enclosed Location
Avoid leaving sledgehammers out in the open. The wooden handle must be protected from excessive moisture as when it absorbs moisture, it can cause softening or cracking of the wood. Similarly, excessive dryness can also cause the wood to warp or shrink, damaging the fit. A handle that is not securely fit to a sledgehammer is probably the most dangerous situation to avoid.
5. Check the Handle and Hammer Head Often
Inspect your sledgehammer regularly and ensure that the handle is secure and tight. If it is not, have the handle replaced. Also check the head to ensure that it is free of cracks or distortion. In such cases, the sledgehammer must be replaced. Never attempt temporary fixes such as using glue or duct tape to attach broken parts of a sledgehammer. This could lead to dangerous, life-threatening accidents if the handle comes off and you lose control of the tool.
6. Use Sledgehammers with Heads Made of Durable Metal
Sledgehammers that have steel heads are a poor choice, because they are not recommended for use on hard surfaces. This is because steel can easily crack and splinter, sending small pieces flying around and causing injury.
7. Avoid Using a Tool that is Too Heavy for You
When you purchase a sledgehammer, try it out to see if it fits your working method and body frame. Avoid sledgehammers that are too heavy for you to carry or work with. Also ensure that the handle is smooth and easy to carry. This is important to ensure that you can work with sledgehammer comfortably and safely over the long term.