Can I get workers’ comp when I'm injured by a power tool on a jobsite?

Columbus worker using a grinder power toolThe short answer is yes. Under Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, when you're injured at work, your medical costs are covered by your employer’s workers comp insurance.

When you're a construction worker who regularly uses power tools, it's important to be aware of your right to workers’ comp, because you may have a higher risk of being injured than other workers.

Dangers of Power Tools

As an experienced construction worker, you probably know the dangers involved with using power tools. However, long work days, careless coworkers, disabled safety features, and overconfidence can lead to a serious injury that requires medical care and days away from work.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some of the more common injuries caused by power tools include the following:

  • Electric shock. When using electric tools, workers are at risk of a shock that could cause heart fibrillation and burns, or startle the worker to fall off an elevated work surface and suffer other injuries. In some cases, workers can also be electrocuted by an ungrounded power tool.
  • Eye injuries. Saws, sanders, grinders, and other similar tools produce debris that can hit a worker in the eye, causing serious and permanent damage. Nail guns and staplers shoot dangerous projectiles that could also do serious damage to the eyes of operators or bystanders.
  • Puncture wounds and lacerations. With even a slight slip of the hand, a nail gun, drill, saw, or other tool could easily puncture flesh, causing an injury that requires stitches, damages ligaments and tendons, and puts the victim at risk of infection.
  • Crushing injuries and amputations. Electric saws, jackhammers, forklifts, and chippers have the power to crush a person who gets caught in machinery, or cut off the limb of an operator.
  • Repetitive-use injuries. While power tools are designed to make tasks easier for the worker, you can still experience soft-tissue and repetitive injuries from long-term use. The vibration from a jackhammer can cause joint and nerve damage that could be permanent.
  • Hearing loss. Being exposed to the loud noises caused by power tools—even if you're not the one operating the tool—can cause permanent hearing loss. Treatment for hearing loss caused by workplace conditions is covered by workers’ compensation.

Of course, there are safety measures that must be taken to prevent these injuries, but accidents happen. Workers’ comp should be the safety net you need when the accident happens to you.

Construction Workers May Be Denied Coverage

If you're classified as an independent contractor on a construction site, you won't be covered by workers’ comp insurance. However, construction workers may be misclassified and need legal assistance to fight for the benefits they deserve. Significant additional compensation is available to workers whose employers have violated safety standards.

If you're having trouble getting your construction site injury coverage approved, contact me. I help dozens of construction workers get the coverage they deserve, and I'll put in the time to do the same for you. Call me today for a strategy session.

James Monast
Fighting for Ohio’s Injured Workers and their Families