Hand Drill Safety

Updated February 21, 2017

Hand drills are electrical power tools--corded or cordless--with each type and brand having its own various configurations designed to penetrate surfaces. Most hand drill have their own attachments like the chuck, which holds the bits and pinion gears in place. Proper handling and use is required when working with hand drills and their attachments to prevent equipment damage and bodily injury.


Proper use of the hand drill requires that the user focus on the task without distraction. Hand drills are hazardous tools that can cause injury if one fails to utilise the drill correctly. Drill at a slow and steady pace. Allow the tool to do the work by minimising added pressure. Pushing the hand drill too hard can result in injury if the drill breaks and you lose control of your grip. Wallowing, or moving the drill side to side, is strongly discouraged because it can cause the drill to break.


Place the drill speed on low as you break through a surface or material. Large drills require a slow speed to prevent drill breakage, and smaller drills need a faster speed to cut effectively. Listen for squeaks, loud vibrations or chatters, because they can indicate that the speed should be minimised.

Safety Rules

Do not attempt to reach underneath or around the items being drilled. Never use a hand to stabilise the piece being drilled because it is not strong enough to hold on if the drill catches. Refrain from lifting the hand drill by its cord. Do not operate the drill in damp or wet spaces. Place the drill and drill parts back into their boxes and containers when finished. Refrain from leaving hand drills on tables or on the floor. Clean up debris from drilling as soon as you complete your task.

Drill Preparation

Use drill bits that are appropriately sized for the task. If the bit spins in the chuck, re-evaluate the bit size, starting hole, metal type or the bit's thickness. Make sure that the chuck key is inserted into the small hole and rotated so the key teeth are locked onto the drill bit. Use firm force (with your hands only) to tighten all drill bits before use. Never work with bent drill bits.

Safety Gear

Working with a power drill requires safety wear to prevent shards of wood, metal or other harmful debris from causing injury to the face or other parts of the body. Wearing loose-fitting clothing or gloves is strongly discouraged, because the drill can easily snag or catch on material. Safety goggles should be worn all times to prevent shards of wood or metal from hitting the eyes. Wear ear plugs if drilling is too loud.

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