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DRILL PRESS ACCIDENTS ON CONSTRUCTION SITES IN NEW YORK
A power drill press is one of the common tools used at New York City construction sites. It is primarily designed to drill holes in objects, and can help workers complete their tasks for speed and accuracy. However, in absence of proper safety practices and training, a drill press can prove to be a dangerous piece of equipment.
A US Consumer Product Safety Commission report showed that as many as 2,500 workers are hospitalized every year for drill press injuries. OSHA mandates employers to train workers for the safe handling and regular maintenance of drill presses.
Defective Drill Press can Cause Serious Injuries
Ill-designed shut-off switches and faulty safety guards are among the most common drill press defects that put construction workers in New York City at risk.
The worker should have the ability to switch off the machine quickly in the event of an accident, but drill presses can sometimes have shut-off switches that fail to work correctly or are located in an area that is hard to access. Design flaws can result in the failure of safety guards to protect the hands and fingers of workers. This is a significant cause of amputations on construction sites.
It is the employer’s responsibility to provide sufficient warnings to construction workers about the dangers associated with drill press operations on construction sites. The manufacturer of the machine may also be held liable for worker injuries if they fail to provide appropriate information and warnings that could help construction workers avoid accidents or stop the machine in time before an injury occurs.
Drill Press Related Amputations
While the use of a drill press can pose the risk of injury to any exposed area of the body, an OSHA investigation in 2012 found that as many as three out of four drill press injuries involved amputation of fingers. The investigation highlighted the following incidents:
A worker lost his left index finger in an accident when his right hand slipped on the machine’s handle, which brought the revolving bit down on his left hand. A portion of his finger was severed because of the handle on the drill press machine was loose.
REMOVED SAFETY GUARDS
A safety guard is designed to prevent a worker’s clothing from being drawn into the rotating spindle of a drill press. A construction worker operated a 2-speed drill press where the guard had been removed at the point of operation. During the use of the machine, the worker’s clothing got caught in the drill press, resulting in amputation of two fingers on his right hand.
WEARING GLOVES DURING OPERATION
A construction worker failed to remove the gloves prior to operating a drill press because he was in a rush to finish the task on deadline (you are not supposed to wear gloves when operating a drill press). Although safety guard was present on the drill, the worker’s glove became entangled with the drill bit, resulting in severing of his left thumb.
Workers who suffer from hand or finger amputations are often never able to work again in the same capacity because these injuries are irreparable. Therefore, construction site contractors and site owners have an enormous responsibility to ensure that workers are provided with safe drill press equipment and periodic training to prevent the occurrence of major accidents.
Construction employees in New York City who are unable to work after their drill press injury should speak to our experienced drill press injury attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP to recover compensation for their medical costs and loss of future income.
Preventive Steps that Workers Should Take
Power drill presses on construction sites pose a risk of the worker’s arm or hand getting caught in the trajectory of the moving parts. Sometimes the worker’s clothing and accessories may also get caught, which could pull their arm or hand into the machine, resulting in a serious injury.
Construction workers in New York City can take the following steps to protect themselves against drill press injuries:
- Avoid wearing long or loose articles of clothing that might get caught in the drill press.
- If you wear long hair, tie them back while operating the drill press so that there is no risk of the flowing hair being caught in the machine. Sudden entanglement of hair in these machines is a cause of many accidents, which can quickly worsen if the equipment lacks a proper emergency shut-off mechanism.
- Do not wear gloves when operating a drill press machine. Just like hair and clothing, a glove may also get caught in the equipment and pull your hand into the press, leading to a severe injury.
- Secure the object by clamping it down prior to using the drill press. Your failure to do so could result in the object spinning or being propelled back at you or other workers on the site.
Other Best Practices for Using a Drill Press for Construction
If you are drilling deep, pull out the bit frequently to remove chips from the hole. By doing this, you can prevent the drill press from breaking down or flying out. If the drill becomes stuck in the object, make sure you shut off the device before you pull out the bit.
Clean the drill only after disconnecting power. If you feel that the drill press is not functioning properly, refrain from using it until the problem has been fixed. Report to your employer about the defect and ask for repair or replacement of the defective drill components as needed.
Speak to a New York City Drill Press Injury Attorney
Construction injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP are committed to helping New York construction workers recover damages for their drill press injuries and amputations. These injuries can have long-term medical and financial consequences for you and your family, and may render you unable to work in the same capacity for the rest of your life.
The experienced construction accident lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have represented thousands of injury victims in New York since 1922, and have recovered more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts. To talk to one of our personal injury attorneys, call us at (212) 697-9280. As with all of our personal injury cases, there is never a fee for consultation.
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