Many injuries in the workplace arise as a result of accidents involving slips, trips and falls. One notable exception to this is in the woodworking industry. In that particular workplace slips, trips ad falls occur less frequently than accidents involving the woodworking machinery itself. Indeed, around one quarter of the injuries that occur in the woodworking industry are classified as major injuries.
Occupations that involve any fast moving machinery can be inherently hazardous if the correct protective measures are not in place and most accidents in the woodworking industry are caused by the failure of the employer or the employee (or both) to adopt safe working practices.
Machine Accidents & Injuries
Most accidents are caused by a worker coming into contact with the moving parts of machinery or the kickback of the wood that is being worked and the ejection of cutters and are invariably caused by the failure to apply a safe system of working, which is often caused by inadequate training or by failing to adequately guard the machinery. There are three principal sources of woodworking injury accidents.
- Circular saws
Circular saws cause the majority of woodworking accidents, a substantial number of which result in the amputation of the worker’s fingers. Most of these accidents are caused by the failure to guard the machinery adequately. Although less common, kickbacks of the work piece can result in the most serious injuries and, in some cases, fatalities. These accidents could easily be avoided by the provision of a saw guard and/or the use of a push stick by the worker. An additional causal factor is the failure to adequately train the machine operative, which emphasises the need to provide appropriate training to anyone operating woodworking machinery.
- Vertical spindle moulders
Accidents involving vertical spindle moulders can cause serious injuries, often involving the loss of one or more fingers. These accidents are generally caused by the snatching of the cutters, work pieces kicking back, the failure to properly enclose the machine’s cutters or the lack of backstops, jigs or work piece holders. Once again, the risk of an accident can be reduced through the provision of adequate training to the worker. Additionally, machines should be properly guarded or, where it is not possible to guard to a high standard, jigs or work holders and stops should be used. It is also a legal requirement that machines are fitted with a braking device to bring the machine to a halt within ten seconds.
- Surface planers
Surface planers are also the cause of many woodworking accidents, principally during the process of edging or flatting the timber. Once more, the main causes of woodworking accidents are the failure to adequately train the worker and the absence of adequate guarding of the machinery. The risk of accidents involving surface planing machinery can be easily reduced by the introduction of proper training and safety measures.
Personal Injury Claims
If you are unlucky enough to have an accident that involved woodworking machinery you may be able to make a claim for compensation if you can show that the accident was caused by the negligence of your employer or a failure to comply with legal requirements that are designed to protect you from risk. You should consult a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, as there is a three year time limit on making a claim. You should also look for a lawyer that operates a “no win no fee” basis of representation to remove any worries you may have about the cost of bringing a personal injury claim to court.