The increase in the number of
paper shredders being bought for home use in the UK, as a result
of the increased publicity that is being given to identity theft and
fraud, is likely to result in horrific
finger injuries to toddlers judging from what has happened in
the USA where domestic shredders have been more commonplace for a
number of years.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) carried out an
investigation of reported injuries, including amputations, and the
paper shredders that might have contributed to those injuries.
The National Electronics Injury Surveillance System (NIESS) database
collected 23 reported finger injuries attributable to
shredders. The ages of the victims ranged from 14 months upwards.
The most severe injuries, amputations, involved children. Injury
occurred when a child was feeding paper into a
shredder (under adult
supervision) and did not release the paper in time to prevent their
fingers from entering the shredder opening. As the paper
continued to pull the paper into the
shredder opening, it also
pulled in the children’s fingers.
Since most paper shredders have auto start features, a child can be
at risk even when an adult is present. A child may insert a piece of
paper into the shredder opening and activate the
allowing it to pull the paper (and possibly the child’s fingers)
into the shredder. Children are not conscious of hazards to
themselves and may not let go of the paper as it is being pulled in.
Paper shredders can pose a risk of finger injury to children as
young as 15 months because of their small finger size. With no force
applied, a child’s finger would be unlikely to penetrate the
shredder opening since their finger diameter is typically larger
than a paper shredder opening. However, depending on the design of
the shredder, the
shredder opening may enlarge as the
in the paper and child’s fingers. The height of a 15-month-old can
be more than twice the height of a domestic
paper shredder, putting
them within easy reach of the
paper shredder opening.
ABT Office Supplies Ltd, authorised dealers for 8 major
manufacturers, have been warning of the danger for some weeks now
since learning of the injuries being caused by certain domestic
paper shredders in the USA. A printable leaflet, warning of the
dangers and outlining safe practice when using a
paper shredder, is
available to download in a print-friendly format from our
shredders website which can be found at
www.abt-shredders.co.uk. Vincent Woodall, sales and marketing
manager of ABT, urges anyone who has a
shredder to at the very least
read or better, display the leaflet anywhere a child may be in close
proximity to a paper shredder, to alert users of the danger posed to
David Jenkins, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
was quoted in the Daily Telegraph of 9th February as saying “I am
not aware of a problem in this country yet but with the increasing
paper shredders -- and if similar designs are available as in
America -- accidents are likely to happen”.