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Whether it’s a residential garage door, massive dock door for a big box store or a roll-up door for a mall retail shop, one thing is certain: Without proper maintenance and repairs, overhead doors can be literal death traps. With reports peppering the nation about injuries from faulty sensors or outdated garage doors catching feet, children and pets, a subpar garage door is a huge liability. However, the actual injury statistics may surprise you.
According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance Survey (NEISS), the most common type of garage door injury is “pinch/crush section joints” which happens to about 7,550 Americans each year. This includes “fingers caught between section joints, (and) includes amputations, avulsions, etc.” It’s no surprise that this is the most common, but what’s astounding is just how serious these injuries can be. All it takes is a few skipped maintenance inspections or a bad spring to bring a lawsuit to your family or business.
The second most common injury occurs from “falling doors,” with over 2,100 Americans falling victim to this each year. According to NEISS, this happens when a “door falls for any reason” and includes reasons like a bad installation, outdated and un-maintained doors, or any other number of things. However, a quality garage door with solid installation won’t fall “for any reason”, which is why it’s paramount to demand both top notch doors and installation.
“Sharp edges” account for over 800 injuries every year, with NEISS defining it as “lacerations from garage door window glass.” Today’s garage doors-when they do feature glass-are shatter-resistant. Should they break, which is rare, it’s similar to when a car window breaks. The result is gummy and messy, but there aren’t any sharp edges. Unfortunately, that’s not true of older overhead doors.
Rounding Out the Top Offenses
“Other entrapment” happens to nearly 200 Americans every year. “Half of these were fingers caught between rollers and tracks” according to the research, and could also fall into the pinch/crush category. Tracks and rollers are some of the most common parts that need maintenance, but it’s always best to have a professional handle it.
“Race to beat the door” leads to around 135 injuries every year in the US. “People trying to get through the opening before the door closes” is a dangerous game, but a fruitless one if you have a good overhead door with sensors. When this is the case, the sensor will stop the door from closing (and perhaps re-open it) when there’s any movement detected.
Playing it Safe
Finally, “riding the door” can (not surprisingly) cause about 90 injuries per year in the US. This should be avoided with a little common sense, but of course that’s something children and teens don’t have in abundance. However, an overhead door that’s current and undergoes regular inspections should be able to hold the weight of a child-of course, that should never be put to the test.
The vast majority of these injuries are avoidable with common sense, maintenance and upgrades. Going without these three is a gamble no homeowner, landlord or business owner should take since the house (or in this case garage door) always wins.