At Christmas I got wind of an accident that happened to the brother of
an old national guard friend of mine who I have not spoken to in some
time. While working late at night, tired, his brother cut off the
fingers on one hand on his table saw. Apparantly he had been turning
the saw off and on and due to fatigue forgot to turn it off. I
believe 4.5 fingers were cutoff, and he has since had a number of
surgeries to reattach them.
I can think of no more sober an accident to someone you know in
passing to really make you re-evaluate shop safety. What I am finding
is that I am to some degree scared to work on my table saw now. I have
always been a safe hobbyist, but I just cant help but feel scared. I
don't think this is normal, but I thought I might see if you all had
any advice. Thanks in advance.
On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 20:36:35 -0600, Dave Balderstone
Respect and understanding the operation keeps the parts intact. Fear
It's the same while driving, flying, or wooddorking. Ever been in a
car with frozen, white-knuckled driver? <G>
I believe fear can _prevent_ accidents; fear forces you to consider
what you are about to do, and stimulates you to learn more about the
situation. Fear of failure drives the performing artist to practice,
practice, practice his/her craft. Fear of dying drives the pilot to
learn all he can about his airplane, and the flying environment. Fear
of falling motivates the climber to develop the skill and knowledge
needed to prevent falls, or to allow a safe fall.
Panic, where fear has taken over the mind, is when poor judgements are
made and accidents take place. Panic is more often than not the
result of poor preparation. Someone who fears a spinning TS blade is
someone who will learn techniques to keep his/her fingers out of the
It's a normal reaction. You'll get over it, but won't forget. Learn
from his misfortune and treat your tools with the respect they
deserve. They don't care what they cut, cutting is what they were
I had a jointer accident years ago. I went back to using it within
days of the incident. Yeah, I was anxious, but with proper procedure
and a good set of push blocks, the work was done. I've since gotten
an even larger jointer. I'm always aware of the danger of the
machines if I should get careless. None of this has stopped me from
making things, I'm just more aware and careful. So you will be.
On 18 Jan 2004 18:21:33 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Neuromancer)
Fear and respect kind of go hand in hand (no pun intended). My father sent
the blade of a chop saw through his hand a few years ago and we were all a
little skittish of it after that. Try turning your fear into respect and
knowledge and you'll feel better about it.
I have seen two instances of guys accidently letting a skil saw kick back on
them, cutting to the bone in their upper right thighs - scares the shit out
of me to this day, and believe me, when I HAVE to use a skil saw, I always,
ALWAYS recall those two guys, and then proceed with caution.
Happened to me when I was 12 or 13 years old. Still have the scar in
my left thigh. I've had some close calls with my Unisaw too. Nicked
the tip of my left index finger at the nail. HURT!!! (Lots of nerves
in that area). It healed up over a period of months and you can't see
where it happened, but it's still a little sensitive. I was doing some
repeating cuts on the Unisaw about 15 years ago and suddenly realized my
fingers were getting too close to the blade.
It takes DISCIPLINE, but there is no substitute for a very healthy respect
for that machine you're using and a constant awareness of where your
body parts are, relative to the blade. And SAFETY GLASSES: I was trimming
the rough edge on some ash recently when a splinter nailed my right ear.
When I pulled it out, it drew blood. It passed less than 3" from my eye.
I ALWAYS wear industrial safety glasses around machines. No exceptions.
Did that in high school shop about 30 years ago. 3 or 5 stitches (I
forget) and I'm aware of the scar every day.
Never got my flesh that close to a sharp spinning thing again.
Chisel scars are a different story, however.
Like some others have said, it's probably a good reminder.
My hand-me-down table saw took a couple of fingertips from my grandpa, and
that's never far from my mind.
I'm fairly new at this, but I sure hope I don't grow complacent over time.
email@example.com (Neuromancer) wrote:
Incidentally, I was told my an EMT that is trained to secure detached
limbs, the proper way to do this, should anyone need to.
1. Wrap the fingers in gauze and place in a ziplock baggie
2. Fill another baggie with ice and place the first baggie in the second.
3. Hit the emergency room.
I would add to this that if you are near a major metropolitan area call
911, instead of going directly to the hospital. My wife called 911 which
sent an ambulance who in turn called in a state police helicopter that
whisked me to a hand center 50 miles away in Baltimore that I didn't
know existed. (took less than 15 minutes) I like to joke that if I'd
gone to the local hospital, I'd probably have a hook right now.
How fortunatley small that "tired" accident was! Usually you hear
about the kind "Bus driver went to sleep and killed a lot of
semi-innocent passengers when hitting the lorry in front".
Working when tired should be considered a criminal ofence, especially
on the part of the employer who allowed it to happen!
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