Safety Moment | Service Projects and Power Tools Use


The council has received a few questions related to youth service projects, Eagle Scout projects and general tool and equipment use on the projects.    Please note that unit, district or council service projects, including Eagle Scout projects constitute official Scouting activity and are thus subject to Boy Scouts of America policies and procedures. They are considered part of a unit’s program and are treated as such with regard to policies, procedures and requirements regarding youth protection, leadership, and so forth. As with any Scouting activity, the Guide to Safe Scouting applies. Unit leadership should be aware of project plans and schedules; and also familiar with the Enterprise Risk Management Guidebook.

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The health and safety of those working on projects must be integrated into project execution. Besides the Guide to Safe Scouting, the “Sweet Sixteen of BSA Safety” must be consulted as an appropriate planning tool. It can be found online at Scouting Safely.  Hazardous jobs and certain tool and equipment use must be limited to adults at least 18 years old. They must have experience with the tasks or tools and be recruited to do the work involved. Those under 18 may not work at heights or on ladders, drive, operate machinery and powered construction equipment, or use power tools such as chainsaws, band saws, metalworking presses, and table saws.

It is important also to obey restrictions manufacturers impose or suggest for the use of their equipment.  As a rule, Scouting activities may not include activities for youth that by law they would be not be allowed to do in a work place.   Examples, federal and state requires that youth be at least 16 to operate push mowers. 

Here are 7 helpful tips to remember when using power tools:

  1. Keep all tools in good condition with regular maintenance

  2. Use the right tools for the job

  3. Examine each tool for damage before using it and never use damaged tools

  4. Operate tools according to the manufacturer’s instructions

  5. Use the right personal protective equipment

  6. Loose clothing, ties or jewelry should never be worn when using hand or power tools

  7. Store and transport tools properly as soon as you are done with it


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