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The 5 Most Dangerous Tools In A Hardware Shop, 2022

By Maria Hickey on September 2nd, 2022

It is sad that the UK construction industry has a high accident rate, but it is understandable when you consider how hazardous this work is and the number of accident risks present on-site.

However, even in a hardware shop setting where a retailer sells power tools and equipment to the general public, there are still a lot of shared accident risks that you need to protect yourself and your business against with hardware shop insurance.

While a hardware shop seems like a relatively safe setting, you, your staff and customers are still exposed to accidents and injuries ranging from minor bumps and bruises to crushing injuries, head injuries and fatal accidents.

You don’t need to be a professional construction worker to get injured by power tools and other equipment sold by a hardware retailer. If not stored and displayed safely, they can cause a lot of damage to unwary or inexperienced customers walking around your hardware shop.

Common Injuries In A Hardware Shop

Many hardware store injuries trigger an insurance claim against the shop owner, both from in-store staff and the general public. The most commonly reported injuries include:

  • Falling Stock / Unsecured Stock: One of the most common accidents within a hardware shop is when stock and products fall from shelves, causing an injury to a person or damage to their personal possessions. Some accidents occur when customers reach for a product on a high shelf and accidentally knock something else down, causing injuries such as broken toes and damaged shoes and clothing.
  • Damaged Products With Sharp Edges: Another common hardware shop accident is cuts, scratches and puncture wounds caused by handling damaged products or tools with sharp blades that have escaped their protective packaging. Many customers have also claimed for repairs or replacements for damaged clothing by simply brushing against products with exposed sharp edges on display.
  • Damaged Floor Surfaces & Trip Hazards: Customers can easily trip over products left on an aisle floor. Most people will be gazing along your shelves when walking around your shop so they won’t be aware of any tripping hazards on the floor. Tool shop injuries are also caused by damaged floor surfaces. If a heavy object has been dropped, floor tiles can be broken and hard flooring chipped.

With so many hazards in a busy hardware shop, you and your staff must do everything possible to eliminate and minimise risks of trips, slips, falling and crushing injuries. One way to avoid these risks is to have strict health and safety policies and reviews in place. However, there will always be risks, no matter how careful you and your staff are.

This is why you need to insure your business with the proper hardware store insurance, especially a policy that includes public liability insurance for a hardware store and employers liability insurance.

The Five Most Dangerous Tools In A Hardware Shop

Many machine shop injuries and hazards are due to the everyday use of the tools and equipment needed in the workplace. However, these are the top five most dangerous tools sold in hardware shops and used by professional tradespeople and the general public at home. These five tools are responsible for thousands of injuries every year:

1: Table Saw: With spinning blades that perform over 3000 rotations per minute, it is no wonder so many accidents happen when using this tool. There are safety kits you can fix to the saw that will stop the blade if it contacts any body part. You could help to reduce accidents by upselling these kits with every table saw purchase.

2: Chain Saw: Chain saw injuries are severe and can lead to amputations and profound blood loss. These tools are heavier than most people think, and muscle fatigue and poor grip strength can lead to easy accidents.

3: Circular Saws: A standard tool found in many garages and workshops, these saws should never be underestimated. They need proper handling, and many accidents happen when the item being sawed isn’t clamped correctly.

4: Nail Guns: A great time saver, nail guns are popular with construction workers but also need careful handling. The most common accidents with nail guns are hand and foot injuries.

5: Riding Lawnmowers: These lawnmowers are invaluable for those with mobility issues and those with large areas of grass to mow. However, common injuries caused by a ride on lawnmower include riding over people’s feet and passing over large rocks or stones that get spit out as high-speed projectiles, causing damage or injury to anything or anyone nearby.

People must use best practices when using these five or any other power tools. As a hardware shop retailer, you can help to reduce accident risks by carrying a stock of safety equipment to use with these power tools, such as protective goggles, dust masks, safety gloves, steel-toe boots and workbench clamps.

Even though you don’t manufacture these tools yourself as a hardware shop owner, you can still be held liable for selling them should a customer make an insurance claim. You must protect your business by taking out product liability insurance.

Falling Stock: More Dangerous Than Power Tools?

While most visits to your hardware shop will be a hazard-free event for your customers, it only takes one stock product falling from a high shelf or display rack to cause a person debilitating injuries.

This will inevitably lead to the injured person making a compensation claim to cover their loss of earnings while they heal and to make up for the suffering caused. But if it can be established that your hardware shop’s negligence caused the accident, it could cause severe financial damage to your business and its reputation.

While covering your business with product liability insurance is a sensible move to protect you from claims made against faulty power tools and other goods you sell, it is also essential to get public liability insurance to cover you against injuries caused by falling stock, slips and falls.

It is much more common for customers to suffer injuries from falling stock in a hardware store than from using a power tool at home that was purchased there. This makes falling stock on your premises much more dangerous to your business than the power tools you sell.

The most common claims made against hardware stores from both staff and customers are accidents from:

  • Falling / unsecured stock: Boxes and goods falling off a shelf onto an unsuspecting customer
  • Wet floors caused by spilt liquids or rain and snow being tracked in the store
  • Boxes and wrapping left in the aisles
  • Cracked flooring and worn or frayed carpet that creates a tripping hazard
  • Poor in-store lighting
  • Broken shopping trolleys


As a hardware shop owner, you have a duty of care towards your staff, customers and visitors to your premises. You must keep your environment safe for all users and take steps to minimise risks as much as possible.

Having the proper hardware store insurance in place is essential, especially when there are plenty of hazards present in the form of heavy and sharp power tools and equipment on display.

While you can depend on the vigilance of your staff to keep your premises safe, accident risks will still be present, so you need to protect yourself and your business with the right insurance coverage. Find peace of mind by partnering with Brisco Business for all your business insurance needs.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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