Anything Left-Handed > Blog Posts > Left handed life > 2,500 Lefthanders killed using right-handed products?

2,500 Lefthanders killed using right-handed products?

“Over 2500 left handed people a year are killed from using products made for right handed people” – According to a lot of websites (copy it into Google to see them all).

This is a little snippet that has done the rounds on lots of “useless facts” type websites and has recently been appearing in some “forward me” emails.   We have never seen a proper source for this “fact” so if anyone knows one please add it as a comment below.   Once generated on a list somewhere this type of content seems to proliferate around the web with nobody ever actually checking if it is real.   The same thing happens with lists of famous lefthanders (or not!)

I guess that at least 10 times as many right-handers are also killed using “right-handed products” so it is pretty meaningless really.

There was some research published by Stanley Coren a long while back that reported left-handers being more prone to accidents and as a result dying on average younger than right-handers but we are pretty sure that if that was really the case the life assurance and pensions companies would have picked up on it and tried to charge differential rates for lefthanders.

We do have a lot of anecdotal evidence that machinery and equipment is nearly always designed for right-handers and in some cases actually dangerous to use left-handed – circular saws and chainsaws are two good examples and a lot of factory machinery with safety guards and cutout switches positioned for right handed use of the equipment.

What do you think?   Are us left-handers being wiped out by using right-handed equipment?

There is a very interesting report on causes of death here

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27 comments on “2,500 Lefthanders killed using right-handed products?
  1. jenny says:

    I think the lack of a definitive source is the best reason to see this as a myth. But as to your comment re 10 times as many right handers being killed using right handed machines- thats kind of silly to say.
    Assuming there was a statistic that 2,500 lefties were killed as a result of using right handed kit. That would be a statistic relating to just that. That they were killed in accidents because they couldnt use the kit safely enough due to it being designed for right handed people.
    Your comment re right handers would work better if the statistic was 2500 lefites killed in industrial accidents. Where potentially we are left to speculate that the reason was due to left handedness- then logically your reasoning could stand.
    Or if you phrased it in such a way as to say has anyone studied how many overall deaths there have been using this same equipment.
    If there was a study you would be perfectly entitled to look for flaws in it but as there doesnt appear to be suggesting it is flawed is illogical.

    When I saw this statistic on FB I added my own (totaly made up to be clear) 2,500 right handed people killed every year as a result of asking someone writign with their left hand if they are left handed. 😉

  2. Karl says:

    I think this is a case of misconstrued data. Here in the USA a car could be considered a right handed tool or impliment as in it has a bias toward right handers. Given the consumer numbers this makes sense however it does set up the lefthanded populace at a disadvantage when rowing their own gears

  3. Wendy Day says:

    Very interesting article. Asked B and Q – online – about left-handed tools and paintbrushes, had a reply stating that tools and paintbrushes are “universal” – otherwise known as ambidextrous – and I have asked Wilkinson, to be told the same thing! – but why can’t these firms make tools and paintbrushes for us? Seems easier to get a left-handed tattoo gun online – though not recommended to use this without training!

    • Gravepost says:

      Tattoo MACHINES (they’re not called guns) are ambidextrous by default. there are no pieces on them that are right or left oriented. They’re a vibrating needle holder. If there was a difference in balance the thing would wobble like crazy.

      Source: Former tattoo apprenticed – built and rebuilt these machines hundreds of times.

      • Wendy Day says:

        Thanks for the reply, worth the wait! Have read that machine is the proper term to use, not gun, because of negative connotations! Shortage of left-handers on Ink Master – Tru TV – can left-handers do this job?! Joey Hamilton is left-handed and he won the previous series! When are manufacturers going to make tools that are designed for left-handers, not just tattoo equipment?!

  4. Matt Tinker says:

    I have become ambidextrous over the years, instead of being dangerous, I have learnt to use and in some cases adapted tools to be left handed. I am not as good with my right hand as my left, but I’m better than most right handed people with my right hand!

    I was lucky, nobody forced me to right with my right hand, but I’m a manual, most hand tools are for both left and right handers, with the most notable things being measuring tools, some tapes, rules, callipers and micrometers.
    Writing was hell for the left handed dyslexic!

    As a left hander, I can change tennis rackets from my left to right hand, wreck havoc in softball games by changing from left to right handed batting, I did the same with Cricket, I could n’t hit the ball very well either way!!

    The bad thing is that a left handed motorcycle cop can shoot whilst riding, which no right hander can do!

    Take it and use it as an advantage! Just refuse anything you can’t be safe with!

  5. Grawol says:

    http:// www.trinity.edu/mkearl/death-2. html

    Keith says: Thanks for the link – I have put it into the main body of the post.

  6. Krista says:

    As a safety professional with 16yrs experience; there is no common sense for a left handed tradesman using a righthanded power tool. I am 110% left handed; meaning I will never learn a righthand world; nor do I choose to. When you talk of your products for teaching left handed children; do you think that a right handed person can teach them? Why worry about a child using proper school supplies? How about when they reach the working world and must operate tools, machines; etc. SO PUT YOUR CHILD ONTO LEFT HANDED PRODUCTS AND WAIT FOR THE REACTION OF THE TEACHER….. YOU GO AHEAD AND ADAPT TO A RIGHTHANDED TOOL LOOSE AND HAND AND SEE HOW WORKER’S COMPSATION PAYS FOR LOSS TIME WAGES….IF A LEFT HANDED PERSON LEARNS TO USE A CHAINSAW WITH A RIGHTHAND-EVERY OTHER SCOPE OF THAT PROCEDURE WILL STILL BE LEFTHANDED…..TO BE TAUGHT THE USE OF A PRODUCT-TOOL-PROCEDURE-IT MUST BE TAUGHT BY PRACTICAL APPLICATION AND PROPER TOOL…..

  7. vonda says:

    Don’t know if anyone else has come across this problem, but with my cell phone I can take pictures. However when trying to turn the camera around to take a snapshot of me and my daughter, the camera button is (of course ) on the right side. The end result : part of my palm is captured as I stretch my hand across to reach it.

  8. Kim says:

    I remember when I was in high school, we had those desks that weren’t really a full desk. It had a right side and a middle, but no left side.. This worked great for the right handed kids since they had somewhere to put thier arm down and write, but I had to turn sideways in my seat in order to write.. It didn’t kill me, but it certainly made for a very long and uncomfortable school day. Especially since my natual inclination is to turn to the left, but in this case I had to twist completely to the right to sit.

    • Larry says:

      I, too remember those cursed desks made for right-handers. A full desk would have been way more comfortable for everyone–righthanders included. I don’t know what “genious” was responsible, but they were ubiquitious. I wouldn’t be able to use a lot of things made for lefthanders because I had to learn to use the bloody righthanded things at an early age in order to cope. As a career eighteen wheeler driver (over thirty years) I had a tough time learning the gear shift pattern for a variety of truck transmissions because here in the States, the gear shifter is used by your right hand.

    • gillian says:

      I am not familiar with these desk. having been brought up in the UK. but I saw a photo of a RH one, on this site. There doesn’t seem enough room if one is using a text book and writing, even for a RH.

  9. Sarah says:

    I work in a fast-food restaurant and the fry scoop is great because it has left and right handed handles – although as most of the staff are right handed when they tip the oily fries into the station, oil goes all over the left side. So to combat this I use my left hand on the right side handle and curve my right hand around to put the fry carton in the right position – it makes Right handed people very confused!

    I’d really love a lovely pair of left-handed scissors, but after years of shoddy-quality left-handed scissors at school, I had to use right-handed ones but backwards, and now I’ve adapted, I’d be useless at using left handed scissors, which I think is quite sad!

  10. Gondina says:

    Manny Pacquiao is left handed when inside the ring. So beware right handed people. He could wipe out the right handers.

  11. Tony says:

    To use a mouse left handed, go into the computer’s control panel and set the mouse for left handed use. It’s been available in Windows since 3.11 and Macs since before System 7.

    • Lizzie says:

      I also do this, initially as a bit of relief from RSI in my right hand, but was amazed at how I didn’t have to think about it at all when I changed over – I instantly used it correctly, and have kept it the same ever since. Wonderful.

  12. Silvia says:

    I agree! Left-handers are regularly “killed” by right-handed stuff, but not in the proper sense of the word, thanks God! 🙂 For example, I am a “dead” left-hander whenever I use the mouse of a computer, because I had to learn to use it with my right hand (and believe me, it was difficult for an absolute lefty like myself). Even if I purchased a lefty mouse now it would be of no use as I can’t use it with my left hand at all. So in this situation my left-handed nature was “killed” for good. But I am still alive as are all of my lefty friends and acquaintances, so I don’t think that this right-handed world 🙂 can wipe us out, as we sure can adapt :)!

    P.S. I would like to see how a right handed person did in a left-handed world! 😉 It would be great fun 🙂

    • Jean says:

      My husband became left handed after a troke at 62 years old – by then he had been living in a left handed household for 13 years of our married life – I am extremely left handed and my kitchen contains many left handed untensils as well as being laid out in a left handed direction – kettle handle on left, etc. Only problem with this is that after his stroke he was not using his right hand at all and therefore required more pysiotheraphy!

  13. phil says:

    unlike right handers we adapt and most of the time work round right hand tools

    • Angi says:

      Which makes us smarter, after all, doesn’t it, phil? After all, we have to train our brains to use things most righties take for granted. I took my rightie computer mouse and just moved it and its pad to the left of my computer. Anyone wishing to use my computer had two choices–switch it back, as I would have to do as a leftie, or make do. Tuff bananas!

  14. Wendy says:

    I have adapted over the years and do loads of left handed, some thing with either hand and a few right handed ie cutting with scissors no left handed ones at my school in the 50s

  15. LeftHandDominant says:

    My left handedness has been turned into ambidextrousness also,this is because of the overwhelming use of everything right handed,foolishly the supersticous righthanders think the devil os on the left hand side,this led me to ponder on some historical facts about left handedness and one stood out in particular.
    The laws of chivalry,for instance,in ancient times a Man would walk on the Left hand side of a Lady so he may better draw his sword to protect her,it does not mention left handers in these accounts,so it is with great suspicion that I now treat all right handed people.
    I am right hand prejudiced now.And always will be 🙂
    Let’s see how THEY like it.

  16. SD says:

    As a proud left-hander, I do feel that, yes, there are a lot of right-handed products out there. However, as I’ve said before on one of these posts, I try things out with both hands, learn to adapt and then can use both hands for tasks. I have a flexible approach to these things and after a couple of goes, find it no problem to switch between hands, depending on which is safer or more useful. If anything, I see it as using different parts of my brain and becoming more skilled at things than strict one-handers – if anything, I have now differentiated myself as I can do what most people can’t. For those people that say that they can’t adapt, you can.. practice makes perfect. Be proud to be different!

    • GK1153 says:

      I am also a proud left-hander. 35 years ago when I began learning the carpentry trade I was told to use a circular saw and cut a board to proper length. After a few attempts the boss came over and asked what the problem was. I told him I was left-handed. He smiled and told me since I knew little about using a circular saw with either hand I might as well learn to cut right-handed and proceeded to show me how. Years later as owner of my own construction firm I bought a worm drive saw. My right-handed carpenters had a hissy fit every time they had to use it. I smiled and told them to get used to it. For 35 years I’d been using a right-handed saw.

      • Larry says:

        GK1153, I’m right proud of you! You achieved some great payback with your worm drive saw. Lol I’d have told them to “suck it up, dudes”! I had to learn to use a right handed saw years ago. I didn’t know they made one for the left hand.

      • gillian says:

        Many RHs think we could be like them if we wanted to. So I don’t see why they should have a problem with your equipment. HE HE ! ;-]

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