Saw or Cutting Blade Accidents
One of the most common hazards construction workers face is from saws. Saws can be used to cut a variety of materials such as wood, metal and masonry. Whether working with a table saw, chainsaw, or handheld power saw, these are incredibly powerful tools with the potential to cause devastating saw or cutting blade accidents. These types of accidents can lead to some of the most severe construction injuries imaginable, such as lacerations, amputations or even death.
Many saw or cutting blade accidents are caused by defective machinery or a lack of required safety features, such as a safety guard. Particularly when using a table saw, chainsaw or hand-held electric saw, workers rely on basic safety features to work with saws. In particular, when the safety guard on an electric- or gas-powered saw fails, workers can be put into incredibly dangerous situations that are nearly impossible to avoid. Because these accidents can happen so quickly, employers need to take every possible precaution to prevent them.
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we have won over 100 construction accident verdicts and settlements exceeding $1,000,000, including an $11,500,000 settlement for a defective saw accident. If you or a loved one have been injured in a saw or cutting blade accident, call 212-736-5300 to receive a free legal consultation from one of our attorneys.
Preventing Common Saw Accidents
One of the most common causes of saw accidents are hand and finger injuries involving the blade of a power saw, usually a table or circular saw. These types of accidents are generally the result of a lack of safety guards which protect the user from the spinning blade. Another cause of this type of injury is a failure to use a push stick in regards to a table saw. A push stick is an object a saw user uses to clear the cutting area of debris. If workers are not trained or provided with the equipment to follow this basic safety protocol, serious injuries can result.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, another common cause of saw accidents is using a blade which is too dull. Dull blades can lead to stalling, which creates a potentially dangerous situation. A dull blade also increases the likelihood that the material being cut will kick back, rather than be cut cleanly. Employers need to make sure that saws are inspected regularly so that dull blades can be replaced, and any other defective parts can be repaired.
Another hazard which powerful saws create is flying objects, such as wood chips, sawdust and other debris. Saws should not be operated without proper eye protection. Even if just a quick cut is required, lack of eye protection could cause a potentially devastating accident. On the same note, never use a saw without looking at what you are cutting. It only takes one second for the piece being cut to slip and potentially draw your hand into the blade, or for a flying particle to strike somebody in the face or eye. Take every precaution when using powerful saws to avoid preventable saw and cutting blade accidents.
Examples of Saw Accidents
When not used properly, saws can cause devastating injuries. We have seen this numerous times at Block O’Toole & Murphy and won results for clients who have been injured in this way.
In this $11,500,000 settlement for a defective saw accident, our client was using a handheld circular saw which did not have a safety guard, a direct violation of Industrial Code 23-1.12(c). While he was using the saw, he came to a knot in the wood, which caused the saw to kick back. Because there was no safety guard below the base plate, as the manufacturer dictates there should be, the saw cut into our clients wrist. Sadly, this caused him numerous severe lacerations in his hand and wrist, leaving him with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and barring him from ever returning to construction work.
In this $10,500,000 settlement for a wrongful death case involving a defective saw, the decedent was a union laborer working on a water main installation project in Staten Island. He was equipped with a Husqvarna 760 demolition saw that had a fixed guard above the saw blade but no self-adjusting guard below the blade. While the decedent attempted to cut a pipe, the saw kicked back and struck him, leaving a 12 cm laceration to the left anterior portion of his neck. He tragically died as a result of this injury, leaving behind a wife and three adult children.
In this $1,400,000 settlement for a table saw accident, our client lost two fingers on his left hand after accidentally pressing the pedal on the saw and causing the blade to come forward unexpectedly. There was no safety guard on the blade, forcing our client to try and work with unsafe tools, a violation of Labor Law 241(6). Although the Defendant’s did claim contributory negligence on the part of our client, the case settled as trial was ongoing.
In this $1,150,000 settlement for a hand-held saw accident, our client was given a gas-powered saw meant for cutting masonry, concrete and metal. Unfortunately, he was tasked with using this saw to cut wood, even though the manufacturer specifically warned against this due to the risk of a kick back. To try and compensate for this improper usage of the saw, our client’s employer attached a wood-cutting blade to the saw. Unfortunately, just as the manufacturer warned, while our client attempted to cut wood with the saw, it kicked back and struck him in the face. Once again, this saw was not equipped with a safety guard, and our client suffered the consequences for his employer’s negligence and willingness to cut corners on safety.
Saw accidents are devastating events. They are also preventable, if employers will only take the time to provide construction workers with the necessary training and equipment to do their jobs safely. When that doesn’t happen, and workers pay the price, severe injuries can result, and construction accident lawsuits may become necessary to recover compensation for damages suffered.
Contact an Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer
Saw and cutting blade accidents can leave workers with severe injuries, emotional trauma and extensive medical bills. If you or a loved one have been injured in such an accident, the experienced construction accident attorneys of Block O’Toole & Murphy will fight for your rights and the compensation that you deserve. Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form for a free legal consultation. We are proud to serve all of New York and New Jersey.