What Are Pipe Wrenches Not Suitable To Be Used on?(Explained!)

What are improper uses of pipe wrenches? Misuse or abuse of a pipe wrench may result in serious injury. The following is a list of practices that may result in damage or failure of the wrench.

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Use personal protective equipment. Always wear eye protection. Protective equipment such as non-skid safety shoes, hard hat, etc. used for appropriate conditions will reduce the risk of personal injury.

Do not use handle extensions (“cheaters”) – Handle extensions may damage the wrench or slip and cause serious injury.

A “cheater” is usually a piece of pipe slipped over the handle of a pipe wrench to increase the leverage of the pipe wrench. This may result in the bending and/or breaking of the wrench handle. A“Cheater” can also slip off the wrench during use, causing injury. If greater leverage is needed use a larger wrench.

handle of a pipe wrench

Do not use the wrench as a hammer – A pipe wrench is designed to turn pipe. Using the wrench as a hammer could damage the wrench.

Do not use a threading machine to install or remove (make or break) fittings. This can cause striking or crushing injuries

Do not use a wrench with a bent or twisted handle– A bent handle indicates the wrench has been overloaded and could be damaged. A bent handle should never be straightened. A wrench with a bent or twisted handle should be taken out of service.

Do not use come-a-longs, chain hoists, handle extensions, backhoes, threading machines, drill rigs, or other mechanical, hydraulic or powered devices to activate pipe wrenches to install or remove (make or break) fittings. Do not use excessive force. Pipe wrenches are hand tools designed to be used by hand. Use of these types of devices with pipe wrenches can result in wrench and equipment damage and failure from overload and increases the risk of striking, crushing or other serious injuries or death.

Do not use a wrench with a bent or twisted handle. A bent handle indicates the wrench has been overloaded and is damaged. A bent handle should never be straightened. Remove bent or twisted wrenches from service.

Do not modify or alter a pipe wrench. Modifying a pipe wrench may result in wrench failure and serious injury.

Do not overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times. This enables better control of the tool in unexpected situations.

Do not hit a wrench with a hammer to break loose a fitting. Impact loading may damage the wrench, chip wrench teeth or cause serious injury.

Do not misuse pipe wrenches. Misuse increases the risk of serious injury.

Do not apply a side load to the handle.

Do not use as a lever, lifting device or bender.

Do not use the wrench on hard, square, hexagonal or other non-round material.

Do not use an incorrect size wrench– Always ensure the correct size of the wrench is being used for the job. The wrench nut should not be located at the very end of the hook jaw. Using a wrench beyond its capacity may result in wrench failure. Using a wrench that is larger than required may result in damage to the workpiece.

Wrench too small for workpiece
Wrench too small for workpiece

Pipe wrenches are designed to turn pipes. Improper use may result in damage or injury.

Do not use near flame or high heat. Teeth on the hook or heel jaw could become soft. This may result in chipping or flattening of the teeth. This reduces its strength which may result in failure.

Properly support the workpiece. Failure to properly support the workpiece can cause falling or shifting pipe and equipment and increases the risk of injury.

When using pipe wrenches follow the instructions supplied with that product.

Stay alert, watch what you are doing, and use common sense when using tools. Do not use when you are tired or under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication.

A moment of inattention while operating tools may result in serious personal injury.

Do not let familiarity gained from the frequent use of tools allow you to become complacent and ignore tool safety principles. A careless action can cause severe injury in a fraction of a second.

Pipe wrenches are general use tools that can be used in a variety of situations. It cannot provide guidance on all possible use situations. Users must evaluate the specific work scenario and apply training, good work practices and methods to reduce risk.

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