Share your accidents and close-calls so others can learn from them?

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I wanted to urge people to use protective eye gear with my quick story of a near-miss. Then I figured that what I really wanted was to read of other's mishaps and close-calls to know what is dangerous. Maybe this thread dies with 1 post, I hope not. Perhaps it's been done 100 times or more?
Mine: I was using a Dremel Tool (high speed rotary) for sharpening my lawn mower blade. I was wearing the safety goggles, but it was hot out and I was sweating into them. When I was done I checked the balance of the blade and thought I could use a smidgeon off the very end of the blade to make it balance perfectly.
The goggles were at the other end of the room. I figured it was a sec or two of grinding. I got possitioned over the blade too close with no eye protection. I *knew* the spin direction would throw the shards downward, I've been doing it for nearly 20 minutes. But I figured that I might as well get used to a no-exceptions rule, so I walked across the room, cleaned them out, wiped my face with a towel, and put them on, all the while cursing myself for being so safe.
I had lost track of the position of the dremel tool and the side of the blade I was using. It actually was spinning up toward me in that position I would have used. Shards of metal struck my eye goggles, and peppered much of my face, at a very high rate of speed.
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Several years ago I was doing an inspection in a plant where premanufactured construction was being done. In the area where they were building floors, a young Amish kid was framing with a hammer and 20d spikes. He and a friend were showing off by seeing if they could drive the spike in a single blow (they were able to do it by the way.) Anyway, he hit one of the spikes and it flew. No harm and they both laughed. He set up the next one and took swing. He hit it slightly off and it flew directly back towards him. He screamed and grabbed his face. Some type of milky liquid came running out between his fingers and I could then see the nail sticking out of his eye socket. The eye itself was gone. They rushed him to the nearest hospital and he was then airlifted to a better hospital a few hundred miles away (forget which one, either Indianapolis or Cleveland). Wasn't able to save it. They did rebuild the eyeball, but after that he was only able to see light and dark out of it; nothing else.
Over the years I've seen inexperienced framers cut off fingers, get blown off roof while carrying decking (he was killed), and other stuff. All it takes is a moment of carelessness to cripple or maim.
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A couple of weeks ago a buddy came over to use some of my tools. He's probably got 2x the experience I do in woodwork and around a shop, but he made a mistake. He was using the router in the router table, and put the work pin on the wrong side of the router bit. Instead of giving him protection from being drawn into the router, the pin served as a perfect pivot to throw his small workpiece into the bit. His finger (or thumb, I don't remember) hit the follower bearing on the bit instead of the cutting surface, so he wasn't harmed. He was probably 1/4" away from losing part of a finger. And routers, like belt sanders, don't leave pieces that can be re-attached. They leave meat dust.
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A few weeks ago I was on a job where another fellow was installing some baseboard. He is 61, been a "handyman" for years. He was cutting some baseboard with his 10" chop saw. He was holding the board with his left hand and had the blade turned to 45. What i think happened was that he was used to making straight cuts and was holding the board pretty close to the blade-then when he turned it for the 45 he didn't realize that the back of the blade was now that much closer towards his hand. Left index finger cut about halfway through. He cut a tendon and was heading to a hand specialist last I heard, likely to surgery after that.
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mattblack wrote:

Knocked a good piece out of my left index finger. Just a momentary lack of concentration and bang, those machines never apologise. Went up to the house, poured betadine all over the finger wrapped it in a dressing and drove down to the local hospital. Was a fun drive as the ute is a manual 4sp column shift.(We shift with our left hands in Oz) Nothing much they could do at the hospital as there was nothing left to stitch over the wound, so a more professional dressing was applied and home I went. The finger has a dent in it is still tender regards John
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On Aug 9, 1:57 pm, "Thomas G. Marshall"

20+ years ago I was putting the railing on my deck and I used a couple 36" flat bar clamps to hold the railing to the posts temporarily. I attached the clamps with the bars pointing out into the yard, not back over the deck. I stepped back a few feet for a visual and then walked towards to railing to adjust it. My eyes were focused on the railing, not on the clamps, so I never saw the end of the steel bar until it hit my safety glasses. It knocked them off and put a rather large gash in my forehead, just above my left eye.
After I bandaged myself up and retrieved my safety glasses, I found a deep scratch that started dead center in the left lens and extended up to the frame. If not for the safety glasses deflecting the bar up into my forehead, it would have gone straight into my left eye.
I still have a scar (and the railing) to remind me how important safety glasses are.
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I always wear safety glasses anytime I am working on a project or using a power tool. I even wear safety glasses when I mow the lawn. However I was careless at my table saw once and the damage cost about $3000. I needed to cut out some drawer bottoms from a 1/4" piece of plywood. Carelessly, I didn't set the blade to the proper height and I was a little careless holding the plywood against the fence. I was wearing safety glasses. The peice of plywood kicked back and struck the fore finger on my right hand. It stung for a moment but the pain went away quickly. When I looked down at my hand the fore finger was bent where there is no knuckle but the skin was not broken. I walked from my shop to the house (about 100 yds) and had the wife take me to the emergency room. The bone in the finger had a clean break. It required surgery and a plate and screws were used to repair the break. The finger still has a lot of scar tissue but it works normally, no tendon damage. Always take the time to set the blade at the proper height on a table saw. If I had set the blade at the right height the kick back would not have been as severe.
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...[snip]...

Is there a proper height rule-of-thumb for hand-held circular saws? I've often wondered what was optimal, safe, or both.
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2007 21:02:17 GMT, "Thomas G. Marshall"

As in never higher than your shoulders?
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On Fri, 10 Aug 2007 21:02:17 +0000, Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

I used to spend more time setting up a cut than actually cutting, pissed of my foreman du-jour but I almost never had a re-do, and in twenty five years only had one accident. I was cutting a patch for a bathroom floor that had rotted out from around the toilet, a complicated shape that I was cutting with a porter-cable top handle circular saw (77s were too much for my old, arthritic hands, etc) and dur to the lack of space I was cutting freehand, well to make an unpleasant story short my saw opened up a sloppy ragged gash on the thick part of my right hand (where the thumb meets the wrist) and I wrapped it in my bandanna tightly and drove to the emergency room. I finished up the next day with 10 stitches and an ace bandage.
And yes I took the time to pack up my tools before I left.
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

When I was a noob, I was using a fence mounted stop block to cut equal length parts. A properly sized stop ends well before the blade starts. Unfortunately, my stop was too long, extending to the area between the fence and blade.
A cutoff got trapped between the blade and fence, and was launched like a pitching machine. I got hit in the lower gut hard enough to initially believe I would soon die. Luckily, the wood had hit my thumb first. I broke my thumb, but the emergency room folks thought it took some of the energy away from my abdominal impact.
I've been hit by frozen pucks, hockey sticks, linebackers, the ground and curbing during serious bicycle crashes, I've stuck my hand into large scale r/c propellers and had one serious auto accident. This injury hurt worse than any of that.
A second thought and review of the procedure before the first cut would have prevented the accident.
Let's be safe...
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

A quick point about eye wear.
Obviously, eye protection helps protect our eyes from direct damage.
A less mentioned benefit is that even nuisance dust can cause an eye to blink, blur or heavily tear. Even though light dust irritation is usually recoverable and only a nuisance, the thought of having my eyes closed while my hands are near spinning blades and bits, or my bicycle is traveling at decent speeds gives me the heebie-jeebies.
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I find the glasses steam up after a few minutes, especially wearing a mask filter too. One of those whole-face guards that the Normster uses on the lathe is much better. Can't afford a sealing version with the filter and motorised fan though.
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Another less-mentioned -- and less-appreciated -- point is that there are other parts of your face besides your eyes that should be protected. I don't believe I'd much enjoy catching chunk of wood in the teeth, or the nose. Hence, I always wear a full-face shield when operating power tools -- and some hand tools, too, like hammers.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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How do you find that to work for you? I've found my face shield is easily scratched (polycarbonate) and gets dusty very easily. So using it is rather a nuisance, is there any way to reduce that?
Thanks, Wayne
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I haven't used it myself, they make a spray for motorcycle goggles that creates a no-fog, no-static barrier for plastic. I've heard of others using it on their face shields and the no-static surface no longer attracts dust. (The dust is attracted by static).
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I haven't found that to be a problem.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

After it has been on a few moments, the dust seems to disappear.
ill
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I\'m not not at the above address.
http://nmwoodworks.com
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wrote:

The interesting part is when you haven't done any ww for a few weeks, and then put the facemask on without checking it first. Bloody spiders.
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spiders, that's my welding helmet ... I have to scrape the spider crap off the glass at times when I haven't used it for a year or so ;-)
But the face shield thing has never worked for me. After half a mo' it used to be so full of [muck] from the outside and so full of fog from the inside that it became more dangerous working with it ON than OFF. So I stick with safety glasses. The new ones have inserts with lenses for close work, which is even better. Damn, but my eyes are going downhill fast.
-P.
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