The most common power tool accidents involve injuries to the fingers. This can be anything from a minor cut to losing the entire finger. Approximately half off all finger amputations in the United States each year are the result of an injury involving a power tool. The index and the middle finger are the two generally involved in the accident. The most common power tool involved in these cases are the various types of saws. Of these finger injuries, 55% occurred while operating the power tool at home.
According to OSHA, a large portion of power tool injuries occur because the power source is not removed while changing parts on the power tool. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have with the power tool or how quickly you can change the part. Drill bits and saw blades are the most common culprits. It only takes a moment to unplug the power source. If you are using a cordless power tool, you may want to remove the battery before you change anything on it. The inconvenience is worth your safety.
Cords on power tools are another concern. Many power tool accidents have been eliminated by going to cordless power tools. If you operate any type of power tool that has a cord, make sure you have it properly secured. Don’t leave the cord out in the open where you or someone else can trip on it. There is the risk of electrocution so make sure the cords aren’t frayed. This includes an extension cords you may be using as well. Keep the cords out of wet, damp areas, and make sure there is nothing in the area that can accidentally be spilled on them.
Even if you use the power tool as it should be operated and have on the right safety equipment, accidents can still happen in the blink of an eye. Tripping, slipping, or falling while you have a power tool in your hand can result in an injury. One unfortunately young man was using a staple gun on a ladder with safety equipment on when he lost his footing. He fell from the ladder and ended up with several long nails in his skull. He didn’t die from it but could have.
To help prevent power tool accidents, make sure your work area is secure. Ladders should be securely in place. Never work on a surface that is slippery or unstable. It is a risk you don’t want to be taking with a power tool in your hand. I understand that not all work areas are under the best of circumstances. Be cautious and use common sense.
This information isn’t meant to scare you, only to help you remember that power tools are dangerous, and you have to use them responsibly. Hopefully all of your experiences with power tools with be safe. Do your part to use them under the best possible conditions to help reduce the amount of power tool accidents out there.
As you do your part, so will the manufacturers of power tools. They are very aware of the types of accidents and injuries that take place with power tools. They strive to make improvements on their power tools to help reduce the risk. Most manufacturers welcome your comments, so if you have any ideas on making them safer please contact the manufacturer of that particular power tool.