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How Much Do You Know About Power Tools?
by Maria Trimarchi
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Is your food processor a power tool? What about a professional kitchen mixer or heavy-duty blender? And the surgery drills and electric plaster saw an orthopedic surgeon uses?

If you said yes, you're correct. Technically, anything that uses a motor instead of the power of your muscles is considered a power tool. Power tools aren't just for the professionals, and many of us have at least one at home for our renovation, construction, and maintenance projects (and maybe a little crafting, too) -- and if we don't, we can rent them as needed. Although maybe not the food processor.

Without proper training or maintenance, though -- or without the correct tool for the job, power tools can cause eye injuries, lacerations, puncture wounds, and might even electrocute you. The Stanley knife, for instance, causes as many hand injuries as all power hand tools combined -- but it's the circular saw, found on many home tool benches, that commonly lops off fingers. Each year an estimated 400,000 people visit emergency departments for treatment for injuries from power tools. Additionally, 8 percent of electrocutions every year can be attributed to accidents with power drills, saw, sanders and string trimmers, as well as a long list of other power tools. More than 200 of those injured have fatal injuries. Despite improvements to safety guards, grips and controls, improper usage and improper tool choice are unforgiving.

While it's important to familiarize yourself with a tool before turning it on, it's also important to know how to use it safely -- and if it's the right tool for the work you're doing. See if you know which power tool is right for which project. And don't forget to wear safety googles!

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