Safety is vitally important when you are handling power tools. Accidents are always possible especially if you aren’t cautious. Literally 1000s of power tool mishaps and accidents occur each year. Power tools can even cause death in extreme cases. You can limit the risk of injury and accident by following the manufacturer’s guidelines and only using the power tool as directed. Also follow the recommendations for the required safety gear to use in conjunction with the power tool.
Most accidents and mishaps involve the fingers. These range from minor cuts and abrasions to the loss of the finger or worse. It is estimated that at least 50% of all finger amputations are the result of a power tool. The most common fingers lost are typically the index and middle fingers – unfortunately, these are also the two fingers that we use the most. Typically the offending power tool is a power saw.
“Roughly 55% of these accidents occur while using the power tool at home”
Must accidents usually occur while changing an operating part or component while the power tool is still connected to the power source. The most common component in these cases are drill bits and saw blades. Always unplug the power tool when changing these components – it only takes a second and can save you your finger. In the case of cordless power tools you should remove the battery while changing parts.
Another problem area is cords on power tools. These can become entangled in the moving parts and result in accidents and injuries. The use of cordless power tools has reduced these risks. However, you should always secure the cord when using a power tool that has a power cord. Another concern is that frayed cords can result in an electrocution – always repair any cords that have any damage. This applies to any extension cords as well. Prevent the cords from being exposed to water or damp areas. Also ensure that there is no liquid that can be spilled on the cord.
Accidents can happen to anybody – even if you are applying all the correct safety principles. Just tripping or falling with the power tool in your hand can cause injuries.
Securing the workplace is one way to reduce the risk of any accident. Ladders should always be secured – falling from a ladder while operating a power toll can be disastrous. Don’t work on slippery or unstable surfaces. Sometimes the work area may be less than ideal and in these cases you should exercise extra care to limit the risks. Common sense and safety go hand in hand and when in doubt always follow your gut and exercise extra care.
Power tools can be dangerous and you must use them responsibly. Awareness of the risk factors and common accidents can help you work safer with power tools. Always try and use them under the safest possible conditions and you will reduce the risks of accidents and injury.
Fortunately, manufacturers are aware of the most common risk areas and are always looking for ways to make their products safer. If you have any ideas on how to make your power tools safer – send it to the manufacturer. They welcome feedback from users especially on safety related issues.