Tools of all shapes, sizes, and functions can be dangerous. More than 400,000 trips to emergency rooms across America show this. Power tools are understandably more hazardous, but any tool can deliver traumatic injuries under certain circumstances. Whether working with heavy equipment and machinery, or basic hand tools, it is critical that every worker be properly trained on their safe use. Employers must also provide appropriate safety gear to workers and ensure its use.
The Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at E.S. Borjeson & Associates have seen the devastating injuries caused by accidents involving tools. Causes for tool accidents vary, but many can be attributed to equipment malfunctions, lack of training, and overtired or stressed workers. The following is a list of the five most dangerous tools and some practical safety tips for avoiding a serious work injury.
Top Five Dangerous Tools and Practical Safety Tips to Avoid Injury
- Chain saws cause about 30,000 injuries per year. Chain saws can kick back, causing injuries to the face and shoulders or suddenly slice through a tough piece of wood to strike shins, knees, and feet. Broken bones and soft tissue damage are not uncommon in chain saw accidents, and may lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement. Use proper safety gear like cut-resistant chaps designed for chain saw use. Wear a hard hat, face visor, sturdy boots, and gloves.
- Nail guns result in 40,000 injuries per year. Most common are punctures to fingers and hands. This often occurs when a user holds two 2×4 planks together to create a door frame and the nail passes beyond both beams. Because these tools fire off at 120 psi, even the smallest nail gun can cause severe injuries. Construction workers should always wear googles and keep hands clear of the nailing area. Use the safest settings. Bump mode may be quicker, but sequential mode ensures that the trigger must be squeezed, preventing accidental discharge and serious injuries.
- Table saws cause 60,000 work injuries per year, most of which are amputations of fingers. The average table saw rotates over 100 mph, so it is not going to stop before doing serious damage. Workers who must use a table saw are advised to use a featherboard to push materials through the saw rather than hands. To prevent kickback of wood passing through the saw, use a splitter or riving knife. Wear safety googles.
- Circular saws result in over 120,000 injuries per year. Hand-held and simple to use, circular saws spin even faster than table saws and can cause the same injuries. Kickback is common, but because the saw is hand-held, the tool can fly free and cause injury to other parts of the body. Use a C-clamp to secure the item being cut so that both hands can secure the saw. Do not have the blade depth any more than is needed to pass through the wood being cut. Use sawhorses or another sturdy surface for cutting. Leaning a piece of wood against the leg is asking for trouble. Wear safety googles.
- Ladders result in more than 140,000 injuries per year. Falls from ladders most commonly result in leg and foot fractures. Every three to four minutes, someone is injured by a ladder. Use a tool apron or belt if working on a ladder to keep hands free for climbing. Maintain three points of contact when climbing. Keep your center of gravity within the sides of the ladder. Properly position an extension ladder by placing your toes against the feet of the ladder, angling it until hands rest easily on the chest level rung when extended straight.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at E.S. Borjeson & Associates Help Those Injured by Dangerous Tool Use
When you are injured on the job, you have a right to seek compensation for expenses. The Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at E.S. Borjeson & Associates have helped injured workers receive what is rightfully theirs for more than 25 years. To learn how we can help you, contact us online or call 215-772-3020 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.