The Impact of Safety Regulations on the Incidence of Upper-Extremity Power Saw Injuries in the United States

Michael M. Vosbikian, Carl M. Harper, Ashlyn Byers, Adva Gutman, Victor Novack, Matthew L. Iorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose Over 50,000 power saw-related injuries occur annually in the United States. Numerous safety measures have been implemented to protect the users of these tools. This study was designed to determine which interventions, if any, have had a positive impact on the safety of the consumer or laborer. Methods We queried the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database for hand and upper-extremity injuries attributed to power saws from 1997 to 2014. Demographic information including age, sex, date of injury, device, location, body part involved, diagnosis, and disposition was recorded. We performed statistical analysis using interrupted time series analysis to evaluate the incidence of injury with respect to specific safety guidelines as well as temporal trends including patients’ age. Results An 18% increase in power saw–related injuries was noted from 1997 (44,877) to 2005 (75,037). From 2006 to 2015 an annual decrease of 5.8% was observed. This was correlated with regulations for power saw use by the Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC) and Underwriters Laboratories. Mean age of injured patients increased from 48.8 to 52.9 years whereas the proportion of subjects aged less than 50 years decreased from 52.8% to 41.9%. These trends were most pronounced after the 2006 CPSC regulations. Conclusions The incidence of power saw injuries increased from 1997 to 2005, with a subsequent decrease from 2006 to 2015. The guidelines for safer operation and improvements in equipment, mandated by the CPSC and Underwriters Laboratories, appeared to have been successful in precipitating a decrease in the incidence of power saw injuries to the upper extremity, particularly in the younger population. Clinical relevance The publication of safety regulations has been noted to have an association with a decreased incidence in power saw injuries. Based on this, clinicians should take an active role in their practice as well as in their professional societies to educate and counsel patients to prevent further injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296.e1-296.e10
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hand lacerations
  • power saw
  • safety regulations
  • table saw

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