The invention of tools is one of the things that differentiates us from other life forms. Not all necessarily, like the sea otter who figured out how to break open shells, but most. Our willingness to use tools, however, is generally not tempered with the desire to use them correctly, or to use the right tool for the job at hand. Many of us are expedient by nature, and any tool is better than no tool, right?
Here are the tools I have seen mis-used the most in my life.
- Screwdrivers – This simple tool is designed to translate force to rotate screws into and out of materials. there are several types, the most common being the phillips head and the slotted or regular. We use them as a pry bar, especially to open paint cans or put a bike tire on its rim. Not a good idea. At times we use them for the right thing, but we hold the object we are working on in a way that when the screwdriver slips, we could get a cut or even a puncture wound. Ouch!
- Hammers – One person I know calls a hammer a “16 ounce wrench” because he uses a hammer to adjust things – to beat them into submission. Again, we use this tool mostly for what it was designed for, but many people don’t take the time to don even an inexpensive pair of safety glasses to provide protection from flying nails or materials that chip when they are hit.
- Pliers, Channel-lock pliers, and any adjustable wrench. These tools are great, but their misuse can lead to aggravation. The biggest problem is using these tools for working with nuts and bolts. Anything other than socket wrenches, open-end wrenches or box wrenches used on a bolt head will compromise the geometry, making it harder to ever use the correct tool and creating sharp burrs. They also are prone to slipping, which leads to knuckle injuries.
- Kitchen knives – When used to open that UPS package or as a pry bar to get those AA batteries loose from the remote, you are damaging the integrity of the blade, and making it less reliable when called upon to do the work you have it for. And that is when the knife slips off the green pepper and into your finger.
- Scissors – Do you have one of those drawers in your house that is the repository for miscellaneous tools? I’ll bet the scissors in there are the most mis-used tool in the drawer. Mostly because they are used so frequently that they end up becoming the easiest thing to grab. Generally mis-used the same way a knife is. Here, the danger is in how we handle them when we start using them for alternative purposes.
Getting the right tool for the job is critical. Using it correctly is just as important. Do you have an experience where you didn’t think about the misuse of a tool until an accident happened? Let us all know about it, you might save us from injury.
Thanks, and let’s be careful out there.
Anna at abdpbt is responsible for the effort to Fight Listless Mondays. Find other list links on her blog. Her lists and the others linked there always give you something to think about, and may even make you smile!