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Handtools and Tool Safety in Theatre

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When working in a theatre, handtools are an essential part of a stage technician’s toolkit. Handtools can help technicians to measure, cut, drill, and fasten materials to create sets, props, and costumes. However, using handtools improperly can result in serious injuries. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common handtools used in a theatre, along with safety tips to help prevent accidents.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is a flexible ruler used to measure lengths and distances. When using a tape measure, ensure that it is not stretched too tightly, as this can cause it to snap back and injure the user. Additionally, always hold the tape measure securely when taking measurements to avoid dropping it and causing tripping hazards for others.

Folding Wire Rule

A folding wire rule is a thin, flexible ruler used for measuring tight spaces and angles. When using a folding wire rule, always ensure that the rule is straight before taking a measurement. Bent or warped rules can lead to inaccurate measurements and mistakes in construction.

Tri Square

A tri square is a tool used to ensure that angles are precisely 90 degrees. When using a tri square, always make sure that the square is held securely against the surface being measured. The user should also ensure that the surface being measured is flat and level, as uneven surfaces can lead to inaccurate measurements.

Combination Square

A combination square is a tool that combines a tri square with a ruler and a level. When using a combination square, ensure that the ruler is straight and secure before taking a measurement. Additionally, always check that the level is accurate, as an inaccurate level can lead to imprecise measurements.

Bevel Protractor

A bevel protractor is a tool used to measure and set angles. When using a bevel protractor, always ensure that the protractor is held securely against the surface being measured. Additionally, ensure that the angle is set correctly before making any cuts or adjustments.

Bevel Set

A bevel set is a tool used to set angles for cutting or shaping materials. When using a bevel set, always ensure that the tool is secure and stable before making any cuts or adjustments. Additionally, ensure that the angle is set correctly before making any cuts.

Carpenter’s Level

A carpenter’s level is a tool used to ensure that surfaces are level and even. When using a carpenter’s level, always ensure that the tool is straight and level before taking a measurement. Additionally, ensure that the surface being measured is flat and level, as uneven surfaces can lead to inaccurate measurements.

Safety Tips

It is important to follow safety guidelines when using handtools in a theatre setting. OSHA and ANSI have established safety standards for the use of handtools in the workplace, including theatres. According to OSHA standard 1910.242, “hand and portable powered tools shall be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.” Additionally, ANSI standard B11.23-2015 specifies safety requirements for the use of hand tools.

Here are some general safety tips for using handtools in a theatre:

  1. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses and gloves, when using handtools.
  2. Keep handtools clean and in good condition. Check for cracks, chips, or other damage before use.
  3. Always use handtools for their intended purpose. Do not use them as hammers or pry bars.
  4. Use caution when using handtools near others. Be aware of your surroundings and ensure that you are not creating hazards for others.
  5. Always use a tool belt or other secure method of carrying tools to avoid dropping them and creating tripping hazards.
  6. Never leave handtools unattended, and store them in a secure

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