paper shredder accident how to avoid

With the rising cases of identity theft, more and more people have resorted into investing in the best paper shredders for their homes. Large commercial and government organizations haven’t been left behind either.

Unfortunately, a paper shredder is a ‘necessary evil’ that has been linked to many paper shredder accidents such as finger injuries, lacerations, and sometimes amputations! This not only happens to young kids but also in the adults operating the devices.

If you’ve decided to shred your documents to prevent your confidential info from falling into the wrong hands, let me teach you a few things about paper shredder accidents below (and how you can avoid them).

We’ll divide the accidents into four broad categories to make it easy for you to understand:

1. Personal/Operator Injuries

If you or your employees use the paper shredder improperly, or without care, you’re likely to sustain hand injuries.

How do such accidents occur?

Well, one of the common reasons is when your loose clothing or jewelry get caught in the shredder, pulling your hands closer to the cutters of the shredder. With this in mind, always be mindful of what is on your hand when destroying documents with your machine.

Another common cause of user injury is when your fingers get caught when trying to remove paper jams. You don’t want to imagine what happen next! If you have to remove any obstruction in your machine, please ensure you first turn it off and unplug it–better be safe than sorry.

2. Kids Injuries

Any parents in the house?

We all know that our kids like imitating what we as adults–especially the curious ones. And trying to run your shredder is one of the things you might find your child doing.

Sadly, paper shredders and kids do not mix! They can cause serious injuries to your kids (plus all the pain that comes with the injuries).

According to a recent report released by the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), 22 (or 71%) out of 31 home shredder accidents were to kids under 12 years old. Over half of these injuries were to children below three years old!

These statistics sends a clear warning to you that if you should put forth firm action to ensure your kids don’t come anywhere near these machines.

If you really mind the welfare of your children (and I know you do), always ensure you turn off your machine’s automatic function or even unplug it when not in use.

This will make sure that your child’s restless, ever wandering fingers will not get shredded in case they fall on the shredder teeth.

You might also consider buying machines that come integrated with safety features like shutting off whenever it senses hands on near the cutters, or ability to activate only when it detects paper.

3. Pet Injuries

Let me make a wild guess… if you’ve got kids in your house, the odds are high you also own a pet or two. Pets and kids are best of friends. But pets and the paper shredder also do not mix! If it gets near your shredder, it might get shredded as well.

Take for example the natural curiosity of your cat- this will prompt him/her to place their paw in the waiting shredder teeth.

Or your dog who would like to pull out his/her tongue and put it closer to the cutters for comfort.

The saddest part is that unlike your kids, you can’t teach your pets the dangers of the machine. But you can keep off pet injuries by putting off your device whenever it’s not in use.

Sometimes, you’ll need to keep a keen eye on your pets to ensure they come nowhere near the machine.

4. Fire Hazards

paper shredder accident fire hazard

Did you know that your shredder can also pose a fire hazard?

If you leave your shredder with jammed paper and unattended to, you know what it does–it overheats. And if the heat is too much, it can result in combustion.

Likewise, leaving your paper shredder plugged in with the automatic function can result in an electric fire.

You can also avoid this accident by turning off and unplugging your machine when not in use.

Additional tips to protect your physical safety while using a paper shredder to protect your confidential information:

  • Never allow young kids to shred papers, even under the supervision of adults
  • Consider placing your machine in less accessible areas to your children and pets
  • Avoid putting your fingers on the shredder opening when it’s running
  • Avoid running your shredder while wearing loose clothing or hand jewelry that might unexpectedly enter the machine opening
  • Keep hair and other items- like long necklace, tie, etc. – from your shredder opening

Final Verdict

We can’t deny the fact that the best paper shredders on the market right now have done a great job at protecting our confidential data from getting access by identity thieves.

But we also can’t deny the fact that these machines have caused a string of injuries, mainly finger injuries, lacerations, amputations, etc. They have done this to kids, pets, and even adults! And in worst cases, they’ve caused fire hazards.

Luckily, you can follow the safety tips we’ve discussed above to curb the various types of accidents associated with this machine.

You can’t afford to get your own or kids fingers or your pets falling under the wrath of a plethora of teeth running at thousand RPM and getting mutilated!

Better be safe than sorry.

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