Even hand-held tools can be dangerous in the workplace

Workplace accidents can happen anywhere, but they are significantly more likely to occur when the work involves manual and powered hand tools. Hand tools are capable of doing great damage to property and severely injuring or even killing workers if they are not properly used and maintained.

Even manual tools, which do not need fuel or electricity to operate, can be quite dangerous. An axe with a loose head may seriously injure someone if the axe head flies off during use. Chisels with cracked or uneven chiseling edges may break and send pieces flying when struck, or they may result in a loss of control and an injuring fall by the person who is striking them if they break in use. Slightly more complex manual tools like wrenches may not hold in crucial moments of force if they are not structurally sound. Likewise, some manual tools create sparks when struck. This can produce a fire hazard in the immediate area, and should be dealt with accordingly.

Hand-held power tools are likewise very dangerous when not maintained properly. Power tools may feature unsecured blades that may come loose and fly off, injuring or killing a nearby worker. Some power tools are powered by pressurized air, and are holding a tremendous amount of pressure. Poorly maintained pressure tools may malfunction and send a dangerous component flying to strike someone. Hoses and electrical cables must be maintained in order to remain safe. Likewise, the floors and work spaces surrounding manual and powered hand tools must kept clean and free of obstruction.

There are many ways that a workplace accident can happen, even with the simplest of tools. It is the responsibility of a company to maintain safe tools and work spaces, and to not issue tools that may be unsafe for use in the workplace. Still, even when proper precautions are followed, accidents can happen. If you have been involved in a workplace accident, the guidance of an experienced lawyer can help you protect your rights while you explore your options for recovery.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Hand and Power Tools," accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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