Most Common Injuries Suffered by Carpenters on NYC Construction Sites
New statistics indicate that carpenters and all other New York City construction site workers now face even greater threats to their safety while on the job. In fact, during one recent year, construction worker deaths rose by four percent – leading to 937 lost lives.
Carpenters are among those handling the most highly detailed construction site tasks. While some specialize in building frameworks for floors, walls and doorframes, others spend their days building staircases, shelving and window frames. In addition, carpenters must master the use of many potentially dangerous tools. On some days, they must also climb up high on ladders – or position themselves on scaffolding while using their various skills.
Before reviewing some of the most common injuries suffered by carpenters, this article will look at some of the dangerous tools they must use while working in both commercial and industrial settings. That information is followed by basic tips to help carpenters stay safe while building and remodeling everything from the smallest business structures to the tallest skyscrapers.
Tools Carpenters Regularly Use While Completing Their Tasks
- Squares, chisels, and levels: While these tools pose few dangers unless dropped, it takes considerable time for every carpenter’s apprentice to learn how to properly use these
- Sanders: Carpenters should use safety goggles (or face shields) and professional noise reduction headphones when operating mechanical sanders. Respiratory protection is also crucial. The sanding machine’s belts and sharp surfaces must be checked carefully before every use. Proper steps like wearing gloves must be taken to protect fingers and hands
- Hammers and nail guns: Although manual hammers can inflict serious wounds, most carpenters are skilled enough to avoid these. However, nail guns can prove very dangerous, especially when unexpected discharges occur or the user fails to abide by all safety precautions
- Basic and circular saws: While all tools with sharp edges can prove hazardous, it’s the circular saws that can require considerable training before they can be used safely
- Welding machines: Although most carpenters don’t have to use welding machines regularly, many seek out this type of training to increase their job skills and assignments
- Tape measures, staples, nails, and screws: Besides making sure every substance they use – whether it’s made of wood, plastics, drywall or other materials – is measured properly, carpenters must also join parts together with nails, screws, staples and other devices
Since most carpenters never receive formal vocational training – they must rely heavily on their mentors (more experienced carpenters) to teach them many critical skills during apprenticeships.
During these training periods, young carpenters are taught how to make exact measurements of materials so they can fully meet the requirements of professional building plans and blueprints.
Serious Injuries Often Suffered by New York City Construction Site Carpenters
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries: Far too often, like others in their field, carpenters fall from great heights while working on projects. They also suffer serious concussions when heavy objects are accidentally dropped by others working above them
- Severe hand and finger injuries: In some cases, especially when machine guards slip or fail to stay in place, carpenters may need to have one or more fingers amputated due to crush injuries or serious lacerations. Their hands and fingers can also incur serious bruising
- Repetitive stress and overuse injuries: Arthritic problems and carpal tunnel often plague carpenters due to their uniquely exacting hand tasks. And the constant hammering, lifting of heavy objects (and other similar tasks) can wreak havoc on many carpenters’ shoulders, elbows, knees, and other body parts. Bursitis can play a major role in prematurely ending many carpenters’ careers
- Cancers and lung diseases: Carpenters must constantly work with woods and plastics that must be precisely cut and fit into various shapes. All kinds of wood dust, chemicals, molds and solvents can easily be inhaled while handling these tasks. In order to breathe properly through their mouths and nasal passages – carpenters must wear proper masks covering their mouths and nostrils
- Severe eye injuries: While cutting wood and other substances down to their required sizes, carpenters must constantly keep their eyes covered so they won’t be hit by flying objects and debris
Additional Safety Guidelines for All Carpenters
- Always wear a helmet, sturdy work boots, and thick gloves: Also, whenever your employer will provide one, wear a safety harness when working at great heights. Deadly falls happen far too often on all construction sites
- Never wear loose clothing while handling carpentry tasks: Getting a shirt sleeve caught in any machine can cause you to suffer severe lacerations. You may also accidentally cut off a finger or mishandle dangerous equipment like a nail gun
- Only use fully functional equipment and make sure all machine guards are working: No carpenter can afford to belatedly discover that a nail gun is firing off center or that the guards on a sanding machine have stopped working
- Avoid working overtime or different shifts on the same day: Manual labor is very demanding work. When you fail to obtain adequate rest, you greatly increase your chances of mishandling your tools or falling off an unsteady ladder or scaffolding
If you’ve been seriously injured while working as a carpenter or handling any other construction job, be sure to immediately contact your New York City construction accident lawyers. We’ve handled many cases like yours and always try to help our clients obtain the maximum compensation available — for all their lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering and other losses. We’ll fight hard to win the full damages available under New York law.