Power Tool Risks and Protection Tips for Safer Construction
Every year, an estimated 400,000 emergency room visits result from workshop and power tool mishaps. Many victims suffer as a result of inexperience, but even professional carpenters and construction workers occasionally fall victim to the dangers of power tools.
Professional craftsmen are heavily trained and experienced in handling construction tools. However, just because a worker knows how to use a tool, doesn’t mean he always follows safety precautions—especially when there is a deadline to meet.
Speed, Efficiency, and Risk: The Eight Most Dangerous Power Tools
Construction workers are encouraged by their employers to finish jobs quickly. Consequently, many workers use power tools to hasten production. As you can imagine, the convenience and speed of these tools are a great help in the construction industry. However, when workers take shortcuts and bypass safety features in the name of speed and efficiency, the following tools can become deadly.
- Nail guns. Although they speed up construction jobs significantly, power nailers injure nearly 40,000 people a year. Many of the injured are non-professionals, but nail guns pose a significant risk to professionals as well.
- Chainsaws. These powerful tools are hard to control and result in 36,000 emergency room visits each year.
- Table saws. Improper use of saws and lack of safety guards result in lost fingers, hands, and arms among hobbyists and professionals alike.
- Circular saws. Overriding safety features to make cutting more efficient results in many of the injuries, and sometimes deaths, caused by this popular tool.
- Power drills. Mishandling a power drill can result in gruesome and deadly injuries. Overconfidence and rushing through a job contribute to the level of injury.
- Backhoes. Backhoes are notoriously imbalanced and kill an average of 38 construction workers every year.
- Air compressors. Air compressors produce a lot of power. Along with the potential for being injured by the tool the compressor is running, the operator can suffer head or facial injuries if they lose control of the pump itself.
- Wood chippers. While annual fatality numbers are relatively low, the sheer gruesomeness of the kinds of injuries that can be caused by chippers puts this tool on the list.
If you’re injured on the job by one of these dangerous tools and are unable to return to work, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation. After an injury, contact attorney Steve Lee to discuss your accident’s options for receiving recovery benefits. Depending on your injuries, you may qualify for repayment of medical bills and lost wages.
Avoid the Accident Before It Occurs
At the law firm of Steve Lee, P.C., we not only want to ensure your financial safety, but your physical safety as well. Therefore, we believe that avoiding a catastrophic power tool accident is better than suffering painful injuries.
Although we’ll be here to fight for you when an accident can’t be avoided, we encourage workers to use power tools with caution and never bypass your own safety. While it’s essential that you read the instructions for the specific tool you are using, the following general tips can help you avoid risk.
- Use clamps to secure work. It takes a little extra time to clamp down your project, but it’s time well spent. Holding a piece of wood with a free hand while you cut instead of using a clamp can result in the amputation of fingers or hands, or in extreme cases, the severing of an entire arm.
- Stay awake. During a long day of repetitive work, it may become difficult to stay alert. Take breaks and stay away from power tools when you are tired.
- Use goggles. Goggles are the only thing that will protect your eyes from wood chips and flying debris.
- Don’t disable the safety. Do not set nail guns to fire on contact. It may take a fraction longer to complete a job when using the pressure safety feature, but it can save lives. Also, if the safety guard on your table saw inhibits your work, insist that your employer gets you a better saw.
- Beware the ricochet. Many power tools can bounce off work surfaces or throw dangerous projectiles out. Be prepared for recoil.
If you have been injured on the job as a result of a faulty power tool or tool mishap, call Steve Lee today at 713-921-4171 for your FREE consultation and case review. You depend on your tools to work for you. When they fail, depend on Steve Lee to get the job done.