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Defective power and hand tools

Power and hand tools that are defective or not maintained properly can result in workers' compensation claims in New York. Tools that are used by, and even furnished by, employees are required to be kept in safe condition by the employer. 

According to OSHA, power and hand tools are commonly found in a number of different industries, and proper maintenance and safety protocols must be followed in order to prevent serious injuries. Employers are required by law to provide safe work spaces and environments for their workers, and this relates to all equipment as well.

According to Business and Legal Resources, tools that must be maintained include wrenches, hammers, axes, drills, lawn mowers, circular saws, grinders, fastener tools, belt sanders and blast cleaning nozzles. There are a number of guidelines that employers are required to follow in regard to these types of equipment. These include:

  • Guards - the majority of portable tools must contain some type of guard that is properly fit for operation in order to diminsh user injury 
  • Proper cleaning - certain cleaning procedures must not be used except under specific regulations. For example, compressed air can only be used under a specific pressure and when protective equipment and guarding are used
  • Correct operation - one of the employer's responsibilities is to provide training for appropriate operation of each piece of equipment the employees are using. Ongoing training and retraining must be done for new employees and those who have been found in violation of use 
  • Safe condition - tools should be inspected before, during and after use to ensure they are in good working condition 

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  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
  • The estate of a 64 year old woman received a settlement of $425,000.00 after she was struck and killed by a speeding tractor trailer while crossing the street at the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Port Richmond Avenue.
  • A $1,200,000.00 settlement was reached on behalf of a 54 year old man from Staten Island, New York, who, while in the course of his employment as a bus driver, was rear-ended on the Garden State Parkway and caused to suffer injuries to his back and neck as well as a fractured rib and fractured pelvis.
  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
  • The administrator of the estate of a 69 year old man who suffered stage four pressure sores while a patient at a Queens nursing home settled the case for $400,000.00 after the man died.
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