As the classic horror flick “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” made all too clear, home improvement tools can be helpful (cutting down trees) or very, very harmful (cutting down humans). But even if you aren’t wielding a chain saw as you dabble in a few upgrades around the house, that doesn’t mean you’ll get through unscathed. The reason: A whole host of home improvement tools can cause serious injuries. As proof, check out this list to learn which ones could send you on a surprise trip to the emergency room.
1. Power washers
Don’t underestimate the power of water. In this forum post, a guy recounts his experience power washing a deck, and accidentally passing the intense stream over his pinky.
“The impact only lasted about a second, but the damage ended up being significant,” he recalls. “My finger immediately swelled up to at least double its normal size. … The bottom third of my finger was so crooked that I was sure that it was broken. After about a minute, my skin ruptured from the pressure and blood began to pour out.”
An ER visit revealed a ruptured artery with a tear “almost down to the bone.”
Apparently water spewing out at 4,000 pounds per square inch can do that. As another commentator put it, “4000 psi is enough to cut your arm off with water. That’s pretty much it.”
If you have any other doubts about the power of a power washer, watch this video:
2. Nail guns
Nail guns are fun to use, and don’t come with the headaches and thumb aches of hammering. And yet, every so often, nail guns just might nail you, too. People hurt themselves with these things an awful lot, drumming up about 37,000 ER visits each year. Most of the injured are construction workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but 32% are your regular DIYers—including the guy in the video below, who nailed his foot to a board. (Warning to the squeamish: There’s a bit of blood.)
So here’s a little tip: Use a nail gun with a sequential trigger—reportedly, it can reduce injuries by half. And if a hammer can do the job, just use it. And, um, don’t play with the darned things.
3. Staple guns
Like nail guns, staple guns can shoot inches of steel into your body with one simple squeeze of the handle. And staples can easily bore through bone.
In 2011, a Dallas man accidentally bumped his head into his buddy’s staple gun, which discharged a 2.5-inch staple directly through his skull and into his brain. (Miraculously, the 27-year-old survived without permanent damage.)
Another injury published as a 2010 medical report details a carpenter who had a 5-centimeter staple shot into his eyeball. Eww. So, treat that staple gun with the respect it deserves—and keep the safety on when not in use.
4. Power drills
Data on just how many injuries handheld power drills cause each year are sparse, but freaky and frightening tales abound online.
In 2012, one workman in Oxford was standing on a bucket to drill a hole high up but then lost his balance—and fell onto the drill he was holding, which burrowed into his chest and caused his death. Tragedies of this type are more common than you might think.
When using power drills, take a tip from science class and tie your hair back (you don’t want it to get snared by the actual rotating drill bit). And lest you lose your balance, always use proper ladder safety. Losing your balance while holding a whirring power drill is a terrible combination.
5. Lawn mowers
Just about every homeowner has a lawn mower of some kind. But who knew these things could be death traps? Lawn mowers are the cause of over 80,000 ER visits per year. Children are especially subject to lawn mower wrath and account for over 17,000 of those ER visits.
According to NPR, many lawn mower accidents are due to rocks and sticks being spat into the operator’s eyes, so clear the yard first and use safety goggles if you want extra protection. And wear closed-toe shoes. Generally, keep the kids indoors, and far away from all these drills, saws, and choppers. Oh, and as this video below makes all too clear, use it only outdoors.
6. Table saws
Table saws cause over 34,000 hospital visits each year, including 4,000 amputations. Amputations! A lot of that is also due to kickback, as you can see in this video: The wood gets picked up and pulled into the blade after being cut. Just imagine if he weren’t using a push stick.
If you want to read some gruesome personal anecdotes of table saw injuries, head over to sawaccidents.com. They might incline you to buy a SawStop (which can actually detect human skin and stop spinning) or, at the very least, use a splitter or protective wear such as goggles.
7. Chain saws
Everyone knows chain saws are dangerous, but they might be fuzzy on exactly how these accidents happen.
I can speak from personal experience: In the seventh grade, Mr. Niles, my math teacher, told a funny story about cutting down a tree. While his buddy slowly chewed through a tree with a chain saw, for some reason Mr. Niles had to get to something on the other side of the machine. Rather than circling around his friend, he stepped over the chain saw, which bit into his leg. Oh, how we laughed.
Apparently this isn’t uncommon. According to a 2004 study, chain saws cause over 28,000 injuries annually, and another study says roughly 116,000 people made ER visits from 2009 through 2013 due to the power tool. Most aren’t fatal and occur in the hands and lower extremities, although an unlucky 10% of those injuries occurred to some hapless fellow’s neck or head.
So don’t be like my seventh-grade math teacher: Walk around the chain saw, and wear some protective gear such as helmets and visors.
The post 7 Home Improvement Tools That Are Far More Deadly Than You Think appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.