Workers’ Compensation For Hand Tool Injuries in South Carolina

South Carolina Hand Tool Work Injury Attorney

Working with hand tools on a regular basis can cause many workers to lose sight of the genuine dangers these jobs present. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.7 million workplace injuries in 2020 required workers to miss at least one day of work. It is essential to take precautions when working with hand tools to avoid potentially serious workplace injuries. South Carolina workers, such as construction workers, mechanics, cooks, stockers, and other positions, injured while using hand tools may be eligible for compensation benefits.

What Are The Types of Hand Tools

Hand tools are critical to many types of jobs. From landscaping to construction to woodworking, many occupations require the daily use of various hand tools. Hand tools come in both manual and electric forms. Some of the most common types of manual hand tools include:

  • Hammers,
  • Screwdrivers,
  • Saws,
  • Pliers,
  • Vises and Clamps,
  • Drills; and
  • Cutting Tools.

Electric hand tools are powered either with an electrical cord or a rechargeable battery. These tools pose additional risks, given the device’s speed and the increased risk of electrocution. Some of the most used electric hand tools include:

  • Circular Saws,
  • Band Saws
  • Jigsaws,
  • Leaf Blowers,
  • Hedge Trimmers,
  • Drill Presses,
  • Sanders,
  • Grinders,
  • Nail Guns,
  • Concrete Power Tools,
  • Chainsaws,
  • Power Drills,
  • Oscillating Tools; and
  • Lathes.

Typical Hand Tool Injuries That Can Occur

While many of the dangers of hand tools come from improper use or maintenance, even responsible use of hand tools can be dangerous. Following are the most common types of hand tool injuries:

Overuse Injuries

When a worker uses the same tool regularly, it can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, trigger finger, or tennis elbow. These conditions occur when repetitive movement in one area of the body causes damage to the tissue. Overuse injuries typically set in over time, rather than due to one specific incident. They are often characterized by pain, numbness, and a limited range of motion.

Face and Eye Injuries

Some hand tools expel sawdust or other debris during use. If a worker is not wearing eye protection, this debris can cause severe eye injuries or even blindness when it comes into contact with the eye. However, even when eye protection is worn, serious eye injuries can occur if a hand tool is defective or the worker loses control of it.

For workers operating power hand tools, the tool can “kick” back, causing it to jerk towards their body. Depending on how a worker is positioned, the device can hit their face causing broken facial bones, lacerations, and potentially brain injuries.

Hand Injuries

According to the National Safety Council, hand injuries make up almost nine percent of workplace injuries. For example, in 2020, there were over 102,000 workers who suffered hand injuries due to a workplace accident. Workers who use hand tools are at a greater risk of experiencing hand injuries, given the proximity of their hands to the instrument.

Tips to Avoid Hand Tool Injuries on the Job

Workers who extensively use hand tools can take specific steps to reduce the likelihood of an injury. Some hand tool safety tips include:

Use the Right Tool for the Job

Tools used for purposes other than what they are intended for are when accidents can happen. For example, using a chisel in place of a screwdriver may result in the tip of the chisel breaking off and hitting the worker in the face. Always follow all instructions from the tool’s manufacturer to avoid unnecessary risks.

Ensure Hand Tools Are Well Maintained

While many tools can withstand years of use without any maintenance, it is essential to ensure that all devices are in good condition. A compromised tool is more likely to fail, increasing the chances of a severe accident. For example, many hammers have wooden handles. If the handle is cracked, loose, or splitting, it can cause the head of the hammer to come off as the worker pulls the tool back, sending the head flying through the air.

Always Wear Protective Equipment

Eye injuries are prevalent among frequent hand tool users. The simplest and most effective way to prevent eye injuries when using hand tools is to wear the appropriate eye protection. Workers need to wear eye protection when using tools themselves and anytime that anyone in their vicinity is using a tool.

Double-Check All Electrical Connections

For powered hand tools such as circular saws, workers should ensure that the power cord is in good condition before using the device. Additionally, workers should ensure that the cable does not run through a puddle or a window or door that could close on the cord.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Hand Tool Injuries

Those workers who experience a hand tool injury while on the job may qualify for compensation benefits. If successful, a workers’ compensation claim will provide workers with payment for their medical expenses and ongoing income-replacement benefits. The nature and duration of the benefits depend on the severity of the workers’ injury and how long until they can return to work.

Notably, the South Carolina workers’ compensation system does not consider a fault. Thus, workers injured on the job do not need to prove that anyone else was responsible for their injury. Workers whose injuries resulted from their own negligence may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

If you were injured on the job, you must notify your employer within ninety days. If you choose to file a workers’ compensation claim, it must be filed within two years with the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission.

Contact an Experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Assistance with Your Claim

If you recently suffered a workplace accident while using a hand tool, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. At the Steinberg Law Firm, we have over 95 years of experience helping injured workers recover the compensation they need to get back on their feet. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer today, call 843-720-2800. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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