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The dark side of power tools in a layperson's hands

There are a lot of televisions shows and websites that encourage people to roll up their sleeves, pick up some power tools and make the changes they want to see happen in their surroundings themselves instead of hiring a professional. These days, it's easier than ever to "do-it-yourself" because even expensive power tools are available for rent through a lot of home improvement stores.

While dedicated Do-It-Yourself'ers may disagree, the easy access to certain power tools may not be such a great thing after all -- it can make it seem like operating a piece of dangerous machinery isn't really that dangerous. Otherwise, companies surely wouldn't encourage people to rent or buy these tools, right?

Wrong.

A survey taken in 2003 estimated that power tools cause around 400,000 trips to the hospital every year -- and that didn't include accidents with ordinary things like lawn mowers and weed trimmers. However, that's precisely the problem.

People that might hesitate to try to operate a heavy-duty modern lawnmower sometimes don't think twice about renting a circular saw for a weekend project, even though power tools in general are far more dangerous than lawn mowers. Tools that were once known only to professionals, like power drills and wood chippers, can be put in anybody's hands. While the majority of accidents might involve a nicked finger, power tool users regularly risk their eyes, hands, knees and arms because they don't know the proper safety procedures for a specific piece of equipment or know what sort of safety gear they should be wearing when using a particular tool.

The overall message that you can learn from the available statistics is that power tools have become common and somewhat ordinary in the average individual's mindset -- so they may not be treated with the proper amount of caution by the average user.

If you want to protect yourself from a serious injury, experts recommend against using power equipment that doesn't come with clear operating instructions, including information about the proper safety gear you should have. Pay attention to warnings about removing the safety, ricochet effects and other known issues with a particular tool.

If you were injured by a power tool during a home construction project and don't believe that you had adequate warning about the dangers involved, consider talking to an attorney about the possibility of a lawsuit.

Source: Health Grove, "Injuries Caused by Power Tools," accessed May 05, 2017

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