IF you are an employer or a worker involved in building kitchens, or constructing wall frames or roof trusses in Orange WorkCover officials want you to take more care with power tools following a rise in the number of injuries associated with the tools.
In the last three years 100 workers in the Orange area have been injured with 1965 workers across the state in the same period claiming workers compensation for their injuries, totally $19.5 million.
WorkCover Orange and district co-ordinator David Young said inspectors have been deployed to the wood products manufacturing industry in an effort to put an action plan in place to improve safety.
“The manufacture of kitchens, wall frames and roof trusses involves working with powered hand tools during the cutting and assembly process, increasing the risk of serious cuts and amputations,” Mr Young said.
He said using cheap hand tools can also be high risk in the workplace.
“As well as being cheap they are noisy and heavy tools can be awkward to use, vibrate a lot, and require excessive force which can also result in painful blood vessel, nerve, hand and finger joint disorders,” Mr Young said.
He said employers always need to ensure they have appropriate guards on any type of power tool for the protection of their workers.
“It is also important to provide adequate training, supervision and instruction to workers to ensure they are competent in safely operating machinery and powered hand-tools.
John Connolly of JD Kitchens in Orange said he has made working with tools a safety priority for his workers.
“In small business our workers are like our family, so we want them to go home safely at the end of the day,” he said.
Mr Young said any employer who is struggling with time and resources to ensure workplace safely can talk to WorkCover staff about getting help.
“We have sent out a safety kit with practical tips on how to avoid injuries,” he said.
Mr Young said businesses and traders may not be aware they’re eligible for a rebate of up to $500 for the purchase and installation of safety improvements.