Did you know that the misuse of hand tools contributes to thousands of hand tool-related injuries each year requiring emergency hospital treatment? Because many design engineers are also professional tinkerers, a special month has been set aside to call attention to this fact: The Hand Tools Institute, Tarrytown, N.Y., has designated the month of May as National Hand Tool Safety Month.

Some of the rules being emphasized during the 2009 national campaign include:

• Always wear safety goggles when using hand tools

• Plastic-covered plier handles are for comfort only, and not for protection from electrical current

• Never use screwdrivers for any other purpose than tightening or loosening fasteners

• Never use cheater bars on tools

• Claw hammers are for driving and removing finishing and common nails, not masonry nails or for striking other tools

Posters, booklets, videos and charts are available from the Institute. The HTI safety program, now in its 38th year, has earned national awards and recognition. For more information, visit www.hti.org.