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For many labourers and tradesmen in Australia, the use of powered hand tools is a necessary part of the job. However, that doesn’t change the fact that these devices are often dangerous when operated without proper care and caution.

Yesterday (October 8), the WorkCover Authority of New South Wales issued a reminder to all kitchen, wall frame and roof truss manufacturers in particular about the importance of using powered hand tools safely.

General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division John Watson has encouraged business owners to ensure that people working in these industries are given the proper OHS/WHS safety training and supervision.

“Cheap, noisy and heavy tools can be awkward to use, vibrate a lot, and require excessive force which can result in painful blood vessel, nerve, hand and finger joint disorders,” said Mr Watson.

“A simple solution to address the risk of workers coming into contact with exposed blades or entrapment points is to install guarding in the workshop. Importantly, provide adequate training, supervision and instruction to workers to ensure they are competent in safely operating machinery and powered hand tools.”

According to WorkCover NSW, more than 100 people working in the kitchen, wall frame and roof truss manufacturing industries have been injured while on the job between 2008 and 2010.

The wood products manufacturing industry as a whole is reportedly one of highest risk sectors in NSW. Nearly 2,000 Australians in this sector filed compensation claims during the aforementioned three year period

WorkCover NSW says that it is continuing to conduct inspections of local wood manufacturing businesses, in order to assess work health and safety standards and work with them to improve injury management.

Furthermore, Mr Watson says special safety kits will be provided to kitchen, wall frame and roof truss manufacturers in NSW featuring practical advice for avoiding injuries on the job.

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