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Types of Saw and Cutting Accidents and Their Impact on Workers

NYC workers’ compensation lawyers explain how saw and cutting accidents happen on the job

In NYC construction, saw-related mishaps loom large. Fingers and hands bear the brunt, often due to missing guards or neglecting push sticks. Using saws at work—like chainsaws, pole saws, miter saws, circular saws, saw tables, and others—poses a serious risk for employee amputation and fatal injuries. Saw kickback, electrocution, and getting caught in the spinning blades are all potential hazards.

With very few exceptions, workers injured in New York City saw accidents have a right to compensation for their injuries, lost wages, and possibly more. Whether the injury occurred due to error or negligence, an experienced NYC workers’ comp attorney is key to getting back on your feet. Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP has helped hundreds of New Yorkers injured at work. Our lawyers understand the laws and loopholes to ensure workers injured in saw-related accidents get what’s rightfully theirs.

How common are saw and cutting accidents?

Nationwide, there are about 50,000 power saw-related hand injuries reported per year due to accidents at home or work, according to a study from the Journal of Hand Surgery (JHS). There is no readily available data on saw and cutting accidents in New York City. However, the prevalence of renovation and construction work throughout the city means there are many workers using cutting tools daily and saw-related accidents are likely routine.

Workplace safety measures, proper training, and the use of personal protective equipment are crucial in prevention. Employers in these industries are also required to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, which are designed to minimize the risk of such accidents. Despite these measures, accidents do still occur due to human error, equipment malfunction, and other factors.

Types of workplace saw and cutting accidents

Cutting and saw accidents in the workplace can occur in a variety of forms and can involve different types of equipment and scenarios. Workers are injured in:

  • Table saw accidents. Injuries occur when fingers or hands come in contact with the blade, often due to lack of proper safety guards or push sticks.
  • Band saw accidents. Similar to table saws, band saw accidents can happen when material slips or there is inadequate guarding.
  • Circular saw accidents. These accidents often result from a kickback, which happens when the blade binds or is suddenly forced back toward the operator.
  • Miter saw accidents. Injuries can occur if the operator’s hands are too close to the blade or if the guard is defective or improperly used.
  • Jigsaw accidents. When the tool slips or when body parts come in close proximity to the blade during operation, injuries may occur.
  • Angle grinder accidents. When using an angle grinder, discs can shatter or throw particles, and the grinder itself can kick back, leading to cuts or other injuries.
  • Fabric cutting accidents. Rotary cutters or industrial fabric cutting machines may cause injuries as a result of slips or running hands on blades.
  • Reciprocating saw accidents. Due to their aggressive cutting action, users can lose control or body parts can get caught in the blade.

According to the JHS study, wood is the most common type of material being worked with when a saw accident occurs, followed by metal and composite materials.

Why cutting and saw accidents happen at work

The most common saw and cutting accidents often result from blade contact. Powered-saw incidents often occur during material cutting, such as concrete, pipes, boards, and tiles. Common factors in sawing accidents at work include:

  • Lack of training.
  • Kickback. In a malfunction, the saw or blade pushes the material back towards the operator with great force, often resulting in injury.
  • Electrocution. If a saw blade hits a power line, electrocution can be lethal.
  • Contact with blade. Accidents where workers’ hands or fingers contact the saw blade can lead to severe injuries, including amputations. This might occur if safety measures like guards are not in place or are inadequate.
  • Inadequate security of material. If the material being cut is not properly supported and secured, it can move during cutting, leading to loss of control and potential injury.

Employee injuries and compensation

Common injuries in sawing accidents include lacerations, cuts, amputations, fractures, and puncture wounds. Additionally, saw accidents can lead to severe injuries to muscles, tendons, and nerves, as well as traumatic injuries to the eyes or ears from flying debris. If an employee in NYC is injured in a sawing accident at work, they might have the following options for compensation:

  • Workers’ compensation. This is the primary source of benefits for most injured workers, covering medical expenses and providing cash benefits for lost wages.
  • Disability benefits. If the injury leads to long-term disability, workers may be eligible for additional benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  • Personal injury lawsuit. If a third party apart from the employer is responsible, the worker can file a lawsuit against that party for additional compensation.
  • Product liability claim. If the sawing accident occurred due to a defective product, the employee could file a claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the equipment.
  • Employer’s liability. In limited cases where the employer’s intentional actions caused the accident, the employee might consider legal action outside of the workers’ compensation system.

Consulting with an experienced NYC workers’ compensation attorney to explore these and other options can put an injured employee in the best position to recover physically and financially from the accident.

Consult a NYC workers’ comp attorney after a saw and cutting accident

For workers confronting the brutal aftermath of saw accidents — gashes, severances, the loss of fingers or limbs — knowing the depth of support available is often essential to getting their lives back on track. That’s why it’s important to consult an attorney as soon as possible after a sawing accident at work. The sooner you know about your rights and options, the sooner you can make the right decisions for your health and family.

At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, we stand with injured workers. We are committed to conducting thorough investigations and pursuing the full compensation victims deserve. If you’ve been injured in a NYC saw accident, reach out to us for a free case evaluation. Our team is ready to listen, answer your questions, and guide you through your legal options.

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