Garage doors are responsible for anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 injuries every year. Furthermore, several dozen deaths – mostly of young children – are caused by garage doors each year, making it one of the more dangerous parts of the household. It’s easy to see why injuries caused by garage doors are so prevalent — for starters, garage doors can weigh well over a hundred pounds. Larger overhead doors, such as those that are 14 x 8 feet in size, can even weigh 200+ pounds.
There are a lot of different components that go into making a garage door work. If one fails or is malfunctioning, it could jeopardize the safety of you and your family.
Take a look at some of the most common injuries caused by garage doors and how they can be avoided:
1. The Garage Door Lowering Onto Someone
These days, garage doors come with sensors that detect a presence in the path of the garage door and then automatically stop or reverse the door’s descent. While these sensors often make overhead doors a lot safer, garage doors lowering onto someone remain one of the more common injuries sustained from these appliances. This often occurs if the sensors aren’t working properly, some other component of the garage door fails, or the door is an older model without a sensor.
How to Avoid:
There are few things you must do in order to prevent a garage door from lowering onto someone. First, keep an eye on any children and educate them on the hazards of a garage door. Even with functioning sensors, nobody should ever attempt to run underneath the garage door as it is closing or opening. Secondly, consider contacting a garage door specialist every year to make sure that the garage door is operating as it should. A specialist can analyze areas of concern and make necessary repairs before they become potential safety hazards.
2. Fingers Getting Pinched in the Door
Another common garage door injury is people getting their fingers caught in the garage door tracks as it is opening or closing, which can cause severe injuries. Again, this is a more common problem among children, though it happens to adults too.
How to Avoid:
There is really only one way to avoid this injury – just stay away from the garage door while it’s in operation.
3. Getting Locked in the Garage
Like we noted in the opening, garage doors rely on a number of components to work properly. One of the more important components is the springs, which are responsible for the raising and lowering of the door itself. Unfortunately, the springs are also somewhat problematic, as they can rust, crack or loosen up, which often leads to failure over time. While failing springs can lead to injury from an overhead door lowering unexpectedly, it can also cause you to be unable to raise the door. This can leave you locked in your garage, and if there’s no access to your house from the garage (or the access door is locked and you don’t have a key), you can suffer from dehydration and other injuries.
How to Avoid:
Get your springs inspected regularly and replaced as needed. Since it’s a more expensive repair, many people attempt to replace the springs themselves. That, however, is a mistake because replacing the springs isn’t just one of the more expensive garage door repairs — it’s also one of the more sophisticated repairs. And a repair that goes awry can result in a malfunctioning spring that causes the weight of an overhead door to fall – potentially onto a person or personal property.
Garage doors have significantly improved over the years, but they’re not 100% safe all the time. It’s important to always take care of the garage door and to know who to call when it comes time to maintain or service your door.