Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

May 22, 2013


By the numbers: hand injuries caused by powered hand tools, 2008-2012

X-Ray of hand injury from nail gun

A look at the characteristics of disabling claims accepted by the Oregon Workers' Compensation Division.

Considering how often they are used at construction sites, powered hand tools cause relatively few hand injuries in the industry. In 2012, for example, there were 63 accepted disabling claims for such injuries – about 4.5 percent of the claims accepted for the industry as a whole.

What powered hand tools are involved in most of the hand injuries? It should not come as too much of a surprise that saws, drills, and nail guns account for most of the injuries (67 percent) from 2008-2012, shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Source of injury
Saws, except chainsaws 122
Drills 78 
Nail guns 78 
Jackhammers 26 
Hand grinders 16 
Chainsaws 12 
Hand tools, n.e.c. 12 
Sprayers-paint 12 
Impact wrenches
Cutting hand tools, n.e.c.
Routers and molders
Stapling tools
Blow torches
Soldering irons
Striking hand tools, n.e.c.
Welding torches
Boring hand tools, n.e.c.
Buffers, polishers, waxers
Cutting hand tools, unspecified
Surfacing, unspecified
Welding and heating, unspecified
Total 413 

About one-third of the injured workers (34 percent) were between 30 and 39 years old; 29 percent were aged 18 to 29 (Table 2).

Table 2: Age of injured worker
30-39 140
18-29 120
40-49 99
50-59 50
60 or older 3
Under 18 1
Total 413

Most of the injuries (65 percent) happened when a worker's hand was struck by or against the tool. Overexertion and repetitive motion accounted for 20 percent of the injuries (Table 3).

Table 3: Injury event
Struck by or against 270
Overexertion 54
Caught in or between 36
Repetitive motion 29
Bodily reaction 12
All other 6
Falls 3
Temp. extreme 3
Total 413

Note: This data is preliminary and subject to change. Claims counts only include injuries occurring to the hand, including wrist and fingers with a primary or secondary source of powered hand tools.

Source: Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Central Services Division, May 15, 2013.


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