Construction workers frequently use a variety of hand and power tools to perform their tasks. These are dangerous pieces of equipment with which many things could go wrong, causing serious injury or even death. However, most hand or power tool accidents are preventable. Injury victims may have a claim for compensation against certain parties if they can prove that their accidents were the result of negligence. The personal injury and construction attorneys of Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. are here to fight for your rights.
Common Injuries Caused By A Hand Or Power Tool
Hand and power tools have always been prevalent on construction sites. But with increasingly powerful and sophisticated devices, and ever more construction occurring throughout New York, the risk of serious injury is high. These are some injuries that victims may suffer:
Loss of limbs and digits. Arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes are all vulnerable to being cut off if a saw or other sharp tool is defective or used improperly. Table saws, hand-held saws, and chainsaws in particular present a significant danger of amputation.
Impalement. Unsafe or defective nail guns and staple guns can pierce the skin and cause serious, painful injuries to hands, feet, and other parts of the body. If not treated properly, this can lead to infection and related complications.
Lacerations and punctures. While the loss of limbs or impalement are major accidents, deep cuts and puncture wounds should not be discounted. These, too, can be painful and lead to a number of medical problems and missed time from work.
Injuries from dust and particles. Power sanders can spray dust and particles into workers’ eyes and lungs. Meanwhile, spray guns can have a similar effect with paint and other fluids.
Abrasions. Painful abrasions are common injuries associated with polishing wheels and related components. While these injuries are usually minor and superficial, large and deep abrasions can cause scarring and cause a worker to be unable to perform basic work tasks.
Burns, shocks, and electrocutions. Certain electrical or battery-operated tools can burn a worker or cause electrical shocks and electrocutions. These, in turn, can result in loss of consciousness, falls, heart attacks, and other injuries.
Injuries from falling tools. When workers are doing their jobs on scaffolding, platforms, and otherwise off the ground, there’s a chance their tools might fall and hurt someone below. Falling hammers, axes, shovels, and heavy equipment could result in serious injuries.
Safety Rules And New York Construction Sites
New York has three main laws that specifically impose safety requirements on construction sites and the parties that are responsible for operating and maintaining them. Evidence that these rules were violated and resulted in injuries involving hand and power tools could establish liability. The three main laws, all sections in the New York Labor Law, are:
Section 200. Construction sites must be “constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety of all persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.” With regards to hand and power tools, the law states that machinery, equipment, and other devices must be “so placed, operated, guarded, and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to all such persons.”
Section 240. This is the Scaffolding or Scaffold Law which requires certain safety features for scaffolding or staging. Not only must the scaffolding be erected in a way to protect the worker on the scaffolding, but it also has to have a bolted safety rail that spans the length and ends of the scaffold. In the context of hand and power tool accidents, incorrectly constructed scaffolding, or that which lacks a safety rail, could allow equipment to fall and injure workers below.
Section 241. This section imposes specific safety regulations to cover workers who are injured while constructing, demolishing, or doing excavation work. Subsection 6 requires that sites “be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.” Again, violations involving tools on these types of sites may implicate this specific law.
Parties Who May Be Held Liable
On top of a workers’ compensation claim for lost income and medical expenses, a victim may be able to file a personal injury claim against non-employer parties for defective equipment and unsafe working conditions. Some potential defendants include:
Tool manufacturers. Companies that make and sell tools have a duty to ensure their products are safe. That includes the proper design and construction of the tools, plus affixing proper warning labels to them.
Contractors. Construction workers may hold general contractors and third-party contractors liable for injuries resulting from unsafe work sites. For example, a supervisor may have failed to either inspect tools or remove broken or defective ones.
Property owners. The state’s labor laws apply to property owners who hire construction crews but don’t take the necessary steps to keep them safe. There are a number of circumstances in which the owner’s actions could allow unsafe tools into the hands of workers who are not properly trained to use them.
Third-party individuals. Construction sites are not always the most securely guarded locations. Third-party individuals who may visit the site could tamper with power and hand tools and make them unsafe for the workers.
Contact Our New York Hand And Power Tool Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured by hand or power tools, our firm is ready to help you. Your case will be handled by a partner of the law firm, not a paralegal, and we will begin investigating the circumstances of your accident from day one. We make hospital and home visits so you can focus on recovering while we work on demanding the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. today.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their hand or power tool accident claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.