Wrench Safety

Use wrenches that fit. Wrenches that slip damage bolt heads and nuts, skin knuckles, and cause the user to fall.

Use the proper wrench to get the job done—the one that gives you the surest grip and a straight clean pull. Cocking a wrench puts concentrated stress on the points of contact, a frequent cause of tool failure under pressure. (Other types of wrenches, such as the angle head, offset, and socket type, give you the ability to work in difficult to access places and get a clean pull.)

Do not extend the length of a wrench. Do not use a pipe to increase the leverage of the wrench.

The handle length is made to apply the maximum safe force the socket can sustain. Excessive force may break the wrench or bolt unexpectedly, or the wrench may slip, rounding off hex corners; skinned knuckles, a fall, or a broken wrench may result.

Do not use a hammer on wrenches unless they are designed for that type of use.

Pull on the wrench. This is not always possible, but if you push, you take the risk that if the wrench slips or if the nut suddenly breaks loose, you may skin your knuckles or cut yourself on a sharp edge. Use an open palm to push on a wrench when you cannot pull it toward you.

Replace damaged wrenches. Straightening a bent wrench weakens it. Cracked and worn wrenches are dangerous to use, because they could break or slip at any time.

The adjustable wrench is a multipurpose tool, but it should never be used if a properly fitting combination wrench is at hand.

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