Hazardous Effects of Paper Shredders:

A paper shredder is a device, mechanical in nature, meant for cutting paper into very small pieces. Oringally, paper shredders were only used in government organizations and businesses to destroy papers that were either private, confidential or had any kind of sensitive information. As the more and more people saw the benefit of paper shredders as a way to assist with identity theft protection, demand for a home use paper shredder increased. Manufacturers supplied the damand with a vast array of complact, inexpensive paper shredders designed specifically for home use.

However little did the people know that these paper shredders were not only inappropriate, but also dangerous piece of equipment that could cause serious and fatal injuries, especially to the fingers of the person operating the shredder, or children or even pets.

The various injuries that paper shredder can cause, can be categorized as follows:

  • Child Injuries

Of the many surveys conducted, the review of 50 reported injuries by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded that:

  • 71% of the reported injuries involved children less than 12 years of age.
  • More than half of the injuries involved children aged less than 3 years.
  • Many children less than the age of 6 years underwent amputation of fingers of the hand.
  • Finger Amputations

Finger amputation is not only limited to children, there have been many instances, where the person operating the machine has suffered from severely injured fingers while trying to pull out the paper, while the machine was still in use.

People generally perceive that the paper- feed slots in home shredders are too small to fit their or their child’s fingers. However most of the time that’s not the case, they are big enough to fit child’s fingers and when they are compressed, they can fit through the opening. Some models of paper shredders have the facility of pushing out the edges of the paper-feed slot, thereby further expanding the width of the opening, which are more dangerous than the normal ones.  In these models, a “funneling” channel sits at the bottom of the slot that pushes the paper into the slot for shredding. Now when the edges of the paper- feed are pulled out, it widens the opening of the funnel, hence giving ample room for the children’s fingers to fit in. When force is applied to the finger, it creates a wedge that expands the width of the slot. If fingers are placed into the opening of the “funnel”, during paper shredding exercise, the shredder creates a “pull force” that draws the child’s fingers deeper into the “funnel” and through the paper feed slot.

Find More Information on Paper Shredder Injuries Here


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