Tool Belt Tactics

Tool belts are commonly seen worn by tradespeople, used to help make their job safer and more efficient. It is important to have your tools handy while also prioritizing your safety and others on the worksite.  


Who uses a tool belt? 

Carrying tools on a belt enables workers to have their hands free to focus on the task at hand. Tool belts are used daily in a variety of different trades: 

  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Steel workers
  • Plumbers 
  • Construction workers

Even if you don’t use one at work, you might use a tool belt around your home for everyday tasks and should learn how to use a tool belt safely.  


Essentials of tool belt safety:


  • Secure tools and guard sharp edges.

A falling tool is not only subject to damage, but it can also cause harm or injury to your feet, or to those working below. A sharp tool such as a knife or chisel can stab you if it is carried unsafely. If you work at heights, securing your tools with a tool tether helps ensure that, if dropped, the tools won’t pose a hazard to yourself, or to others. This simple safety measure is an easy way to minimize the chance of a serious injury.  


Imagine how dangerous it would be if a hammer or wrench were to drop from a significant height! Also, consider using lanyards for your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so you don’t lose your hard hat or gloves while working. 


“An 8-pound wrench dropped 200 feet would hit with a force of 2,833 pounds per square inch (or the equivalent of a Clydesdale horse hitting a 1-square inch area).” -Canadian Occupational Safety 


  • Choose the right tool belt assembly. 

Pockets, pouches, and slots should be the correct size and shape to keep your tools from falling out. The belt should be made of a sturdy material and reinforced to withstand the points of tools. Fasteners should be effective and resistant to wear. Sharp tools, such as knives, saws, hatchets, axes, and other cutting or chopping tools much be guarded by scabbards or sheaths to prevent injury and tool damage.  


  • Ensure your tool belt is properly balanced

The tool belt should be balanced, so that the weight is approximately equal on both sides. You should be able to stand straight with an imaginary line running from the top of your head down your spine, and into your feet. When the belt is heavier on one side, your back is pulled out of alignment, and repeated wear can cause chronic discomfort and back problems. If you need most of your tools on one side, for easy access, balance the other side with supplies such as nails or bolts. 


Special tool belt safety tips for heights:

  • Never use your tool belt as a safety belt when working at heights. 
  • Don’t hang your toolbelt up on nails, hooks, or other protruding objects where it might cause an entanglement, hazard around machinery or pose as an overhead hazard for those working below. 
  • Use broad strap suspenders to allow the muscles in your upper back and shoulders to take some of the load. 
  • Remove the tool belt when you take a break to give your back a chance to rest and readjust. 
  • Don’t pack excess items that add unnecessary weight. 

The average tool belt is usually 15-20 pounds, so take a regular inventory of the items in your tool belt to get rid of any unnecessary articles to ensure you are only carrying what you need. 


A tool belt is an important piece of equipment. Not only does it help keep you organized, focused on your job, and allows for easy access, but it also helps ensure your safety and the safety of others by keeping your tools secure. 

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