How to Safely Use a Jackhammer

a pair of construction workers using jackhammers to break up concrete in an empty pool
••• Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Jackhammers are very useful tools but one of the most challenging tools to manage tools in the construction industry. Jackhammers are used to demolish old concrete, pavement and many other surfaces in projects facilitating the demolition process.

The jackhammer itself is heavy so only appropriate personnel should handle the tools to reduce the risk of accidents. Jackhammers have different tips and blades that should be installed depending on the type of job being performed. Let's go over the tips and tricks that will help you use the jackhammer safely and easier.

Pneumatics, Hydraulic, and Electric Jackhammers

The main types are pneumatic that performs by the high pressure of air from an air compressor. Hydraulic jackhammers operate by hydraulic energy from some fluid. The third kind is the electric jackhammers that function by electric power.

Jackhammer Tips

The following tips can be used when using either pneumatic or electrical jackhammers. Follow all safety precautions and be sure to:

  • Choose the right tool. The jackhammer type will depend on the type of work being carried out.
  • There are heavy and medium capacity jackhammers to choose from
  • Choose the right type of hose. The hose selection depends on far the equipment is located from the compressor, the pressure required and the type of work.
  • Be sure to locate the compressor in an open space to eliminate noise hazards. The jackhammer shall also be used on open location, or if used in areas where there is not a lot of open space, wear proper hearing protection.
  • The jackhammer shall be moved by using the legs to avoid back strain or injuries.
  • Most of these tools are equipped with a safety device that prevents the tool from operating, in the absence of pressure or if it is not placed on a surface. To start the jackhammer push down against the surface firmly to start the tool.
  • Use the right chisel and/or tip for the material to be broken. We recommend using rock point for rock, spade point for asphalt, and chisel point for concrete. Never use a broken or cracked point.
  • The tool can be used as a crowbar to lever up and loosen the concrete.
  • Inspect the jackhammer and equipment regularly for defect or damage. Check that everything is in place and that all safety precautions are being followed. Do not forget about the hoses too.
  • The jackhammer shall be used at a slight angle, towards you, so the possibility of getting stuck with the tip or chisel into the surface is minimized. It will also allow you to get better control and grip of the jackhammer. tool from getting out of control. tool from getting out of control.
  • Do not jackhammer down beyond the depth of the cutting bit.
  • When leaving the jackhammer unattended shut off the air supply and relieve pressure from the supply hose before changing tool points.
  • If the jackhammer gets stuck, try to release it by moving it back and forth from side to side. If it's still stuck, install another bit into the jackhammer and try to release if by working at an angle.
  • If using an electric jackhammer, workers must locate the electrical cord on their shoulder to prevent accidental damages to the cord that can cause electrocution.
  • Secure hose ends to prevent whipping if an accidental cut or break occurs

Safety Precautions

Using a jackhammer is a task that requires some special precautions to prevent injuries or work-related illness. Follow these recommendations to prevent accidents at work:

  • Use a water spray control system to minimize airborne dust
  • Always wear safety glasses when using the tool.
  • Use the right PPE such as gloves, safety boots, ear protection and face protection at a minimum. You can also use vibration-damping gloves when using the jackhammer.
  • Workers should be rotated as possible to eliminate fatigue from workers that could lead to accidents at the job site.
  • Make sure your jackhammer has extra safety features such as a locking mechanism on the drill bit and trigger control and automatic release.