Are Vending Machines Deadlier Than Sharks

Vending machines are ubiquitous fixtures in public spaces, providing convenient access to snacks and drinks. However, if used unsafely, the heavy equipment can pose risks – especially to curious children. While severe vending machine injuries or deaths are very rare, certain precautions can further reduce risks.

Are Vending Machines Deadlier Than Sharks

Below we analyze vending machine accident data, discuss risk factors, and provide safety tips for using these automated machines responsibly to minimize harm. Equipped with an understanding of proper vending procedures, consumers can continue enjoying the convenience while staying injury-free.

Vending Machine Injury Statistics

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 1,700 people per year suffered injuries related to vending machines serious enough to require emergency room visits over the 10-year period between 2010-2020. The most common issues reported are:

  • Contusions/Lacerations – 30%
  • Strains/Sprains – 25%
  • Fractures – 16%
  • Abrasions – 11%
  • Concussions – 7%
  • Internal Organ Injuries – 3%
  • Other – 8%

Children under age 18 accounted for around 40% of vending machine-related injuries. The most hazardous scenarios involved items becoming stuck in the delivery chute, shaking the machine, or tilting it – causing it to potentially fall over onto people. Overall, serious injury risk is very low considering billions of vending transactions occur annually.

Key Vending Machine Safety Risks

While severe accidents are uncommon, certain risk factors contribute to vending machine harm:

  • Children Unattended – Kids curious about how machines work are at risk of rocking or climbing machines if unsupervised, which can lead to crush injuries if a machine tips over.
  • Improper Loading – Machines overstocked with heavier items on upper shelves create unstable weight distribution that can cause tipping if a machine rocks or shakes.
  • Placement on Uneven Surfaces – Sitting vending machines on uneven flooring like thick carpeting increases risk of rocking, swaying, or tipping over if nudged forcefully.
  • Reaching Inside – Attempting to grab fallen products by reaching inside machines can cause cuts from attached spiral coils.
  • Shaking Machines – Aggressively rocking machines to dislodge stuck items places unsafe strain on anchoring points.
  • Altering Equipment – Illegally tampering with or vandalizing machines creates hazards from broken parts or exposed wires.

8 Safety Tips for Vending Machine Use

Follow these common-sense precautions for staying injury-free around vending machines:

  1. Supervise children using machines and teach them proper procedures. Do not let them play on or around units.
  2. If a purchased item becomes stuck, ask the operator for assistance or a refund. Never reach inside, rock, or tip machines.
  3. Only use machines bolted to the floor in stable locations away from heavy foot traffic. Avoid units on thick carpeting.
  4. Never tilt machines upward or shake them violently. Gentle tilting side-to-side is the safest way to dislodge stuck items.
  5. Check for proper load balancing – heavier products on lower shelves, lighter items in higher rows. Avoid overstocking.
  6. Keep electrical cords in good condition and do not overload outlets to reduce fire risks.
  7. Report any precariously positioned or unstable machines to building management immediately.
  8. Follow all posted warnings and instructions. Understand risks before using any vending machine.

So why do sharks keep showing up in all of our nightmares? We obsess irrationally over threats that are very unlikely to happen, like shark attacks or the zombie apocalypse (which I’m planning for), but we don’t pay as much attention to much more likely and dangerous threats, like heart disease, car accidents, or even the flu. I guess it’s not as fun to be afraid of the flu as it is to think of sharks as crazed, bloodthirsty killers waiting for you under the water, ready to pull you under, or in some cases, dropping on your head from the sky after being thrown up by a tornado in downtown L.A.

The flu is just not interesting to watch on TV. A shark that craves blood does. In North America, Jaws is the seventh highest-grossing movie of all time. So many of us have nightmares about its famous mechanical main character that it’s hard to change people’s minds about sharks and convince them that they should be protected. Peter Benchley, who wrote the book and script for Jaws, said, “Knowing what I know now, I could never write that book today. Sharks don’t go after people, and they don’t hold grudges, either.”

Sharks scare us because we don’t know much about them or understand them. We’ve never had a good experience with a shark, and all we know about them is how the media and pop culture have presented them as evil killing machines. This way of thinking is partly to blame for the fact that sharks are being killed more and more around the world, putting some species on the edge of extinction.

You have a very small chance of even seeing a shark, let alone getting bitten by one. If you do, you’re very lucky. During my divemaster training in Utila, Honduras, our boat had just pulled up to a dive spot off the north shore of the island. It was full of young, eager divers. Several students jumped into the water to go to the toilet. Suddenly, one of them yelled “SHARK!” After that, things got funny. The students who were in the water swam quickly back to the boat and climbed on as the whole dive shop crew jumped overboard like lemmings, tripping over each other and almost crushing their students to get into the water and see the shark. I was one of the first people in the water, and when I saw the beautiful grey shape move away, I screamed like a schoolgirl into my snorkel.

When I learned about sharks and started to understand them, I realised I had nothing to worry about. I started to realise how beautiful they are, how important they are to the fragile ecosystem of the ocean, and how threatened their lives are on this world. Their situation is very bad. Between 20 and 100 million sharks die every year because of people, and most people don’t listen when people try to protect them. People are much more likely to want to protect cute and fuzzy animals, and sharks don’t get the same kind of conservation care or empathy that pandas and tigers do.


Serious harm from vending machines is highly uncommon with responsible usage and supervision. Taking basic precautions greatly minimizes any risks. By remaining alert, avoiding improper access, and reporting issues, consumers can continue enjoying the convenient service vending provides. Ultimately, using common sense and caution is key to staying safe around automated machines.

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