Sunday, October 1, 2023

Safety in the use of measurement tools

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Measurement tools are not unsafe per se, but sometimes when used improperly they can pose some risks and lead to easily preventable accidents or damage. tool.

This is applicable to instruments such as multimeters, megohmmeters, calipers, thermographic cameras and others, which due to their operation can expose us to different risks, and also suffer breakage if used improperly.

The most common risks when using measurement tools

All measuring tools they share the risk of damage from inappropriate use, as we will see later. According to the type of measurement carried out, there are also personal risks that must be avoided.

In all cases, it is enough to know the measuring tool, its correct use and having knowledge about what we will measure – especially if it is temperature or electricity.

Equipment damage

  • Measuring instruments can be reliable and accurate, but they must be used properly to avoid damage or breakage from improper use.
  • Many turners, for example, use the caliper to measure the diameter of parts while they are turning on the spindle. They also use it as a tracing tool. In these cases, friction wear occurs that causes the tool lose your precision.
  • A multimeter can burn out if it is used to measure high voltage while the test leads are attached to the low voltage contacts.
  • A laser level can be damaged if the pendulum is not properly locked before it is placed in its carrying case. It can also break if it is placed on an inappropriate support, or if it is supported negligently from height, so that it can fall.
  • All measuring tools they have a user manual; It is important to understand the operation of the instrument to avoid improper use.

Calipers and micrometers


They don’t present many personal risks, except perhaps the potential health hazard of sulfated batteries in those digital gauges.

However, it is possible to damage them if, as we saw earlier, we use them improperly. They should not be used to measure moving parts – this, in addition to ruining the instrument, could cause accidents if clothing gets caught – or as tools plotting.

These instruments must always be kept clean and in their respective cases.


Multimeter - measurement

Multimeter – measurement

It is necessary to read the instructions for use carefully before attempting its operation, and of course, they should not be used if we are not familiar with electronics or electricity.

It is important to pay attention during its operation, especially if we are going to work with high voltages. If it is necessary to measure high currents, a clamp meter or specialized ammeter should be used.

The multimeter should not be stored if it is turned on; the battery will last less, and will probably sulfate.

For greater personal safety, insulating boots should be used at all times and be sure that you will not be working with medium or high voltage (voltages higher than 500V).

Distance meters and laser levels

Laser meter

Laser meter

The laser distance meter should always be stored in its case, and should never be exposed to rain. If it must be used in rainy conditions, it needs to be placed inside a protective case, as seen in the photo above.

As with all laser instruments, you should never point to the eyes when operating them. It is preferable to use laser glasses when maneuvering with them, especially if they will be handled in sunny environments, where it is more difficult to determine the position of the laser.

Inspection cameras

Inspection Camera

Inspection Camera

As they are instruments used to inspect places that are difficult to access, you should always work in a state of alert, never with distraction; not having a direct view of what lies beyond where the arm is, it is possible to receive injuries from sharp projections, electrical cables in poor condition and other elements, even poisonous insects that often choose the dark or inaccessible places to build there their nests.

It is always preferable to use leather or meat gloves when working with the borescope, and to withdraw your hand at any sign of danger.

The instrument must be stored off in its case, taking care that it is clean after use.

Thermographic cameras

Thermographic camera

Thermographic camera

The main risk when operating a thermal imaging camera is receiving burns – if you are measuring a boiler fire, for example – or electric shocks when you are checking the temperature on an electrical panel.

Temperature chamber

Temperature chamber

Always try to maintain a safe distance between the camera and the object being sensed. It is not necessary to get so close; Simply aiming the thermodetector at the object correctly to make an accurate measurement.

Comparators and Durometers



They are two dissimilar instruments, but they share the characteristic of having a contact point with the materials to be tested.

The comparator is an extremely delicate instrument, which must always be kept clean, dry and in its case when not in use. When using it, care must be taken that the tip makes contact smoothly with the surface, and that it is free of dirt, and fixed. If it must be moved (for example to center an axis) it must be done slowly.

The durometer must also be kept dry, clean and measurements must be made in a laboratory environment, away from vibrations and movements.

In both cases it is important to keep the fingers away from the probing tips, since not only is it not necessary to place them there, but also, especially in the case of the durometer, it could become trapped and cause serious injuries.

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