How common are injuries caused by work tools?

Friday August 4, 2017

It has been estimated that serious injuries caused by work equipment happen to about 25 out of every 10,000 workers.

Bear in mind that these are ALL workers, including clerical, administrative and IT people. If you work in a more tool-intensive industry like construction, warehouse work, or heavy-duty work like plumbing, hauling, landscaping or excavating, the rate is much, much higher. Also note that these are nonfatal injuries. The figures below do not include people killed by tools and equipment.

A statistical compilation by Forbes revealed the most common power equipment injuries (per year):

  • Power nailers and nail guns – 37,000
  • Riding mowers – 37,000
  • Chainsaws and Sawzalls – 36,000
  • Table saws – 29,000
  • Circular saws – 10,600
  • Snowblowers – 5,700
  • Power drills – 5,800
  • Air compressors – 2,400

This is only the top eight. Thousands of workers and consumers are also injured by forklifts, bulldozers, hydraulic lifts, belt-sanders, stump grinders, stamping machines, conveyors and balers, wood chippers, scaffolds and cranes, tire-changers, cherry-pickers, and the lowly ladder. Backhoes alone cause an average of 38 construction fatalities per year. And of course any tool is dangerous if it falls from a high enough height.

Some injuries are inevitable, but most are preventable

Most companies spent time and money training for safety to minimize these injuries. If you work in construction you know the advice that is given out:

  • Stabilize the work environment: use a firm, flat surface and clamps.
  • Wear safety goggles; glasses and sunglasses are not sufficient protection.
  • Pay attention; don’t get distracted by conversation or work when you are tired.
  • Do not override saw guards and other safety mechanisms.

Accidents will continue to occur, in part because of the inherent danger and power of our tools, and in part because of human error and carelessness.

Is there a legal claim?

A personal injury attorney can pursue compensation against equipment manufacturers when workers are hurt because tools misfire, explode, snag clothing or otherwise harm because of a defect or failure to warn. Third parties (other than your employer) may also be liable for negligence leading to tool and equipment accidents.

Hopefully you can get maximum compensation in the event of a power tool accident, but it is always better to avoid injuries by applying caution and common sense.

 

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