Power Tool Injuries

February 22, 2019

More than 40,000 emergency room visits are attributable to power tool accidents, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Workers who use power tools such as air compression devices, backhoes, chain saws, drills, lawn mowers, nail guns, rotary saws, snowblowers, soldering irons, table saws, and wood chippers are exposed to many hazards. Employers should ensure that they know the hazards associated with each tool being used and the corresponding necessary safety precautions.

Dangers of Power Tools

The construction, manufacturing, and automobile industries are just a few that utilize power tools. Workers in these and other industries may suffer serious, sometimes fatal, accidents from power tool accidents. Some common dangers associated with power tools include:

  • Electrical currents
  • Flying debris, fragments, or tool parts
  • Harmful dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases
  • Inadequate safety warnings
  • Loose fittings
  • Malfunctioning safety switches
  • Unguarded parts

Common Power Tool Injuries

The CPSC reports that approximately 200 people in the U.S. die each year from accidents involving power tools. Those who do not follow the proper Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards may also suffer these common power tool injuries:

  • Burns – Improperly insulated equipment or lack of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) can result in heat, chemical, electrical, and other types of burns.
  • Cuts/lacerations – Power tools that are not adequately maintained or guarded may cause workers to suffer cuts or lacerations from moving blades and other sharp objects.
  • Eye injuries – Flying debris, respirable dust, and splashing liquids can all cause workers to suffer serious injuries if the appropriate PPE is not worn while working with power tools
  • Falls – According to OSHA, falls are one of the fatal four causes of construction worker death and a leading cause of worker injuries in general. Potential trip hazards such as power tool cords and extension cords in walkways may cause workers to fall.
  • Occupational illness – Woodworkers, welders, and other types of workers who use power tools may be exposed to toxic dusts, fumes, or other hazardous substances.
  • Electric shock/electrocution – When power tools are not properly grounded or have exposed wires, workers may suffer electric shock or become electrocuted.

How to Prevent Power Tool Accidents

Power tools must be fitted with guards and safety switches depending on the type of tool and its power source (electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, or powder-activated). They should also be regularly maintained to ensure they are working properly. OSHA provides several recommendations for dealing with dangerous power tools, including:

  • Have a designated work area and keep those not involved at a safe distance
  • Disconnect tools when not in use
  • Do not carry tools by the cord or hose
  • Ensure moving parts are safeguarded
  • Follow the tool’s user manual instructions
  • Maintain and repair tools
  • Wear the appropriate PPE when handling power tools

Reading Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Get Compensation for Power Tool Injuries

If you were injured by a power tool at work, contact a Reading workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our skilled attorneys have over 35 years of experience representing all types of workers in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. We can explain your legal options, ensure your rights are protected, and help you get the benefits to which you are entitled. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.

We proudly represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.