Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

Understanding when to use the right tool can positively impact time, effort, and project resources. Adapting or using “cheaters” (employing an additional tool or object to gain extra leverage or force when using another tool), is not safe, especially in the workplace. Let’s chat more about the importance of choosing the right tool for the job. 

Ladders are used to climb, hammers pound or extract nails, and screwdrivers are for tightening and loosening screws. Occasionally, people choose to use a chair rather than a ladder, a stone or a pair of pliers to hammer a nail, or a knife instead of a screwdriver. Choosing a less effective device or method usually results from a lack of effort to find the correct tool to perform the task. Using the right tool will most often result in positive accomplishments and it is worth the delay in finding the correct tool for the job.  

How to find the wrong tool for the job: 

  • Use a tool for a purpose for which it was never intended.
  • Use the right tool, but not properly.
  • Use unsuitable tools or modify the tool to mimic the performance of the correct item.

Five rules to use tools safely and effectively: 

  1. Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance.
  2. Use the right tool for the job.
  3. Examine each tool for damage before use, and do not use it if damage is found.
  4. Operate tools according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Provide, and properly use, the right personal protective equipment (PPE).

Another important safety tip is properly carrying tools between tasks. Train workers to use a tool belt or other safety items appropriate for carrying other tools. 


Equipment that is designed for a specific job should only be used for that purpose. If a worker uses a tool that’s not designed for the job, it creates safety risks on site. Choosing the right tool also means it needs to be inspected to ensure that it isn’t defective. A tool that is damaged, defective, or broken is no longer the right tool for the job. 


Each employer is responsible for the safety of every piece of equipment and tool used by employees. If any tools are worn out, malfunctioning, or need to be jerry-rigged in any way to make them work, they should be discarded and replaced immediately.  


Every employee should be properly trained or certified in any tool that will be used on the job. Always use the tool according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and remember to use the PPE required to perform the task safely such as gloves, googles, glasses or face shields. To avoid injury, it is best to ensure that the right tool is selected, and the right accessories are being used with the chosen tool. 


Choose the right tool for the job. A “good enough” approach is never good enough when it comes to safety. 

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