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Safety tips when using power tools

Power tools have revolutionized the construction industry, but they also increase the risks for workers in many ways. It's critical for construction workers to know what they can do to stay safe, including:

-- Use handles to carry tools, not cords. Carrying a tool by the cord puts a ton of pressure on the wired connections and could cause them to come loose, increasing shock and electrocution risks; electrocutions are one of the construction industry's Fatal Four. Similarly, workers should never unplug tools by pulling directly on the cords.

-- Unplug tools before cleaning and maintenance. This does make cleaning and maintenance take slightly longer, which is why workers often skip this step. Skipping it is a huge risk, though. Amputation accidents can happen when tools are still plugged in and workers' hands are close to blades, bits and gears.

-- Carry tools carefully. A worker's fingers should never be near the trigger or the start button when carrying a tool from one part of the job site to the next. This is especially an issue with battery-powered tools.

-- Check tools over prior to use. Workers want to make sure tools are properly maintained and in good working order. They should be clean, blades should be sharp and cords should be free from wear and tear. Remember that heat can melt plastic or rubber wire insulation, so it's important to check the tools and the cords at the beginning of the day.

As you can see, many of these steps are very simple and workers just need to slow down and think through everything they're doing. On jobs with tight deadlines, though, workers may overlook these steps. If you've been hurt by a careless co-worker or injured because you were pressured into working quickly instead of safely, you need to know your rights to workers' compensation.

Source: ISHN, "Here are the dangers of power tools," accessed Jan. 12, 2017

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  • American Association for Justice
  • NYCOSH-New York Committee for occupational Safety & Health
  • Queens County Bar Association
  • Society of New York Workers' Compensation Bar Association, Inc | 1945
  • National Organization of social security claimants Representatives

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