Stop Power Tool Injuries on Construction Sites
By Neil Kalra
Power tools are a huge benefit on any construction site. They allow workers to complete tasks far faster and easier than with simple hand tools. But they also cause lot of injuries and fatalities, usually from carelessness.
According to a National Institute of Health study published in 2016, hand injuries are among the most frequent injuries of the human body. But many power tool injuries lead to permanent disability. Some of those injuries are also fatal. The study also revealed that electric saws were the most common type of power tool that caused injuries (142 cases, 53 percent), followed by hand grinders (84 cases, 31.3 percent). Other dangerous constriction site hand tools include:
Hammers, knives, scissors, shovels, axes, handsaws, and even screwdrivers can cause severe injuries; especially when they are dropped from a scaffold or some other high location.
These injuries often require thousands of dollars in medical bills, plus, often significant time away from work and lost wages. They can be life altering and may require treatment or rehabilitation for many years or your entire lifetime.
Three Primary Causes of Construction-Related Power Tool Injuries
Inexperience/Lack of Training – Unfamiliarity with a particular power tool leads to accidents because inexperienced workers don’t know how to anticipate many common problems. For example, a nail gun’s recoil can be strong enough to cause an unwary construction worker to suffer facial injuries while vertically nailing something.
Anyone who hasn’t used a particular power tool should be given careful instructions and be supervised for awhile. Power tools on construction sites are designed for professional (experienced) users.
Distraction – On a busy construction your head is always on a swivel. So, it’s easy to lose focus on what you’re doing; especially if your actions are repetitive when using a drill, rotary saw, drill press, or some other power tool. Workers can get lost in their own thoughts and drift from the task at hand. Or maybe there are only a few minutes before break time or the end of the shift, and the mind wanders a little.
Risk-taking – Seasoned workers DON’T take risks with power tools. And yet, an overconfident worker may subconsciously skip the protective goggles when he or she picks up a rotary saw because they no longer see the tool as particularly dangerous. Complacency is a serious danger, especially for experienced workers.
Safety First – A Checklist that Prevents Construction Site Power Tool Injuries
Regularly inspect power tools to assure they are working properly and well maintained.
Using the right tool, speed, and attachment for the job
If called for, all hand-held power tools on construction sites should have appropriate safety guards.
When using a power tool of any kind, operators must have appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as: safety aprons, masks, gloves, steel toe-capped boots and goggles. Many of these should be provided by the property owner, your contractor and/or subcontractor
Supervisors and foremen should stress a culture of safety on the job site to prevent these kinds of problems. Employees should always be required to take the appropriate safety measures, and have the proper training for every power tool they use.
To counter lapses in attention, workers need hourly breaks to stretch, have a drink of water or just step away from the task for a bit to relax and refocus on their work.
If possible, repetitive tasks should be rotated among capable employees to minimize boredom. Employees should stay focused when working and keep distracting conversation to a minimum.
Whether you were, or a family member was, injured due to a construction, car, commercial vehicle, or semi-truck accident; you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve.
The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting construction accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced construction accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. If you have any questions about your construction accident, call our New York City and Queens Construction accident lawyers today at (718) 897-2211.www.unionlawyer.com