When used safely, power tools are among a worker’s most valuable assets. But when used unsafely, the same capabilities that make these tools so effective can also make them highly dangerous. Every year, thousands of workers miss work time after a power tool injury.
Human error isn’t the only way power tools can injure workers, either. The tools themselves may be dangerous due to the way they were designed or manufactured.
If you incurred medical bills and lost wages due to an on-the-job power tool injury, your losses should be covered by Florida’s workers’ compensation program. Additional compensation may be available to you if your injury was caused by a third party such as a worker employed by another company or the maker of a malfunctioning tool.
To learn about all of your options as an injured Florida worker, contact Frank M. Eidson, P.A. Our firm serves injured workers throughout Orlando and central Florida.
How Common Are Power Tool Injuries?
A look at power tool injury statistics shows just how common mishaps with these machines are.
Every year in the U.S., power tool injuries result in approximately 400,000 emergency room visits, including both work and non-work-related incidents. More than 22,000 of these power tool accidents involve workers using nail guns.
The leading cause of U.S. construction worker injury, according to one study, is contact with cutting or piercing objects, including power tools.
Table saw mishaps result in 29,000 emergency room department visits per year in the U.S., including workers and non-workers.
What Types of Power Tools Injure Workers?
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) categorizes power tools according to their power source. The OSHA power tool categories are:
- Electric tools
- Portable abrasive wheel tools (tools with a wheel for cutting, grinding, polishing or buffing)
- Pneumatic tools (powered by compressed air such as chippers, drills, hammers and sanders)
- Hydraulic tools (most notably jacks)
- Liquid fuel tools (gas-powered tools like chain saws, concrete saws and brush cutters)
- Powder-actuated tools (such as a Hilti gun or Ramset gun).
What are the Dangers of Power Tools?
OSHA notes that the following hazards are associated with different power tool categories:
- Electric tools present the risk of electrical burns and shocks (even a relatively small electric current can lead to death, and shocks at a height can lead to falls)
- Abrasive wheel tools can throw off flying fragments that injure the eyes, face and other body parts
- Pneumatic tools have several risks, including flying fragments, getting hit by an attachment or fastener and air hose tripping hazards
- Hydraulic power tools, when their recommended load limits are exceeded, can lead to a collapsed load and a crushing or struck-by accident
- Liquid fuel tools typically run on gasoline, which can burn, explode and give off dangerous fumes
- Powder actuated tools are similar to a loaded gun and present the same risks, including penetration, ricochet and explosion injuries as well as hearing damage.
Why Are Workers Injured by Power Tools?
Human error is a top cause of power tool accidents and can take several forms. A worker might be inexperienced, distracted or improperly trained. A worker might use a tool in a way not recommended by the manufacturer. Yet another example is the failure by an employer to provide proper safety equipment for workers or to properly maintain equipment.
Power tool malfunction is another cause of worker injury. Tools should work properly when they are regularly maintained and taken out of service temporarily when broken. However, some tools are inherently defective. Such tools present a risk of injury no matter how well they are maintained.
How Can a Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help with Your Power Tool Injury?
A workplace injury involving a power tool might involve one or more parties, such as a tool manufacturer or a worker employed by another company. This could open up sources of injury compensation in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.
Also, a relatively straightforward workers’ comp claim isn’t always as straightforward as it ought to be. Claim delays and even denials are possible and could set you back financially.
The same is true of paperwork and filing deadline errors. Workers are entitled to medical and lost wage benefits when they suffer a workplace injury, but bureaucratic red tape often abounds during the claims process.
To learn how an attorney can help you to overcome these issues and seek all possible sources of compensation, call Frank M. Eidson, P.A., or contact us through our online form.
We proudly serve Orlando, Winter Park and other central Florida communities, and will provide you with a free consultation about your case.
For More Information
- Hand and Power Tools, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
- Occupational Injuries Among Construction Workers Treated in a Major Metropolitan Emergency Department in the United States, PubMed.gov
- The 10 Most Dangerous Power Tools, Forbes
- Nail-Gun Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention