Working in carpentry can be a highly rewarding trade. The skills required to repair or create things using wood are relatively specific, meaning most carpenters will have to train for a considerable amount of time. Unfortunately, like most construction trades, there are also a number of risks associated with working in carpentry. From the common lathe accident to slips or falls, carpentry is a dangerous profession. But what are the most common injuries that carpenters face?
Hand and Finger Injuries
Throughout their work carpenters use a variety of power tools, machinery and manual tools. The most common injuries that carpenters encounter are incidents where their fingers become trapped in machinery or they slip and cut their hand. Workers should always wear protective gloves to absorb the impact energy generated by power tools. Gloves also provide protection from exposed nails, sharp edges and blades to an extent. Carpentry can often require the same movement to be made again and again. As a result, repetitive strain injury in the hands is also very common. This can be avoided by working in rotation with other works, to avoid completing a single task for hours at a time.
Carpentry is a very manual job, which means there is a lot of heavy lifting involved. At any point during their day, workers may be required to lift large pieces of wood. Mechanical load shifting devices, such as cranes, hoists or hand trucks, should be used wherever possible to prevent strain on the workers. If this is not possible, correct lifting techniques should be employed to reduce the strain on carpenters’ backs. Falls and trips are another common cause of back injury in the workplace, so sites should be kept tidy wherever possible to prevent this. Working at height can be dangerous, so relevant fall prevention measures should be taken.
A lot of carpenters suffer with stiff, strained or painful knees. In severe cases, arthritis may develop. This is due to a large amount of their work being carried out a ground level, requiring them to kneel down for long periods of time. Whenever possible, carpenters should bring their work up to waist-height by using a bench or table. Many tools come with extension handles, allowing the carpenter to work more comfortably. Personal protective equipment, which is commonly referred to as PPE in the industry, should be provided. This can include kneepads for carpenters.
Our eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of our body. When exposed to flecks of sawdust, metal, slivers of wood and nails a carpenter’s eyes are under considerable risk. It’s extremely common for carpenters to have eye injuries which cause temporary loss of sight. In severe cases, carpenters can be blinded by a stray piece of metal or wood. For this reason, eye protection such as goggles is absolutely essential whenever workers are using machinery, such as sanders or drills.
These are just some of the most common injuries which carpenters can encounter. There are many others which can occur. Fortunately, most injuries can be prevented with adequate safety equipment.