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Competencies covered

MSFFL2001: Use flooring technology sector hand and power tools

Storage and maintenance

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Professional installers need to be able to rely on their tools when they're out at a jobsite.

Missing attachments, blunt blades or malfunctioning parts can be very disruptive to an efficient installation, and very frustrating to the installer - not to mention other team members who might be left waiting.

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The good news is that most of these problems are entirely avoidable if you look after your tools and carry spare parts with you.

It's also important to buy high quality tools and replacement parts, so you can have the confidence that they'll do the job you expect of them each time you pick up the tool.

Below are some general suggestions on looking after tools and equipment.

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General hints

Don't leave tools lying around on the floor.

Put them back in your toolbox or in a designated area when you've finished using them.

This will not only keep them away from dust and sources of damage, it will also reduce the chance of someone else packing them up into their own toolbox.

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Protect the cutting edges of saws, chisels, knives and other cutting tools.

Always retract the blade in a utility knife when you're not using it, and put plastic caps on chisel blades or put them in a protective case.

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Keep delicate tools in their own bag or carry case.

Sensitive measuring devices and other tools that could be affected by dust or moisture should only be left out while you're actually using them.

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Store loose items and spare parts in their own containers.

These may include blades, bolts, screws, pin heads, probes and specialised attachments.

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Lubricate moving parts and clean out any excess dust as required.

Don't wait until parts start to seize up or air filters get blocked.

The manufacturer's manual for each tool will have a checklist and recommended schedule for carrying out general maintenance procedures.

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Put a tag on any tools that are malfunctioning.

This especially applies to power tools. The tag could say 'Do not use' or 'for repair' or something like that. Then take the tool to your supervisor or an authorised maintenance person so they can attend to the problem.

Never put faulty power tools away for someone else to pick up and use - at the very least it will be annoying for them when they find the tool doesn't work, and at worst it could be very dangerous.

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Learning activity

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Do you have responsibility for carrying out any specific maintenance procedures on the tools you use at work?

For example, your job might include being responsible for cleaning out vacuum cleaners and filters, or replacing blunt blades on cutting tools, or doing routine maintenance on machines that need to be oiled or cleaned.

List each tool that you are personally responsible for and briefly state what sort of maintenance procedures you carry out.

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