Eye on Safety: Keys to Preventing Saw-Related Accidents
The following are summaries of actual power saw-related accidents and how to prevent them.
By Don Rung
Date Posted: 3/1/2000
The following are summaries of actual power saw-related lacerations and amputations that occurred over a recent seven month period in companies insured by Lumber Mutual.
An employee was operating a foot pedal-actuated chop saw. The blade and point of operation were protected by a steel cage. The employee had been trained that if a piece of wood became stuck, push sticks kept at the saw should be used to move the piece out of the way. For unknown reasons, the employee reached his hand inside the guard through the opening intended for inserting stock. As he did so, he stepped forward and unintentionally stepped on the foot pedal, activating the saw head. Four fingers were amputated and part of his thumb. Only two fingers could be reattached.
An employee was sawing blocks on a variety saw. Without shutting off the saw, the employee reached into the saw to remove a piece of scrap and received severe lacerations of the thumb and index finger.
A female employee was operating a foot pedal-actuated chop saw that requires stock to be fed by hand into the saw. The saw was equipped with an adjustable guard that was intended to be set for the thickness of the stock being sawn. The employee had been trained in the proper adjustment of the guard, but she had failed to adjust it for the new stock that she was cutting. She placed her hand on top of the stock, rather than at the rear of the piece. As she fed the piece into the saw, she moved her hand under the guard and actuated the saw via the foot pedal. Three fingers were partly amputated, and only one could be reattached.
A maintenance mechanic was asked to make an adjustment to a chop saw. Power to the saw was turned off before he began the adjustment process. Due to the weight and momentum of the blade, however, it was still spinning. As the maintenance mechanic reached into the saw enclosure to make the necessary adjustment, he made contact with the spinning blade. His left index finger was amputated and he suffered severe lacerations to the left thumb, middle finger and ring finger.
An employee operating a saw reached into it to remove some wood waste and made contact with the saw. His left index finger was amputated and his left middle finger was severely cut.
An employee was operating a saw with his hand improperly positioned on the stock that was being cut. As he pushed the stock through the saw, he cut off his thumb. The thumb was surgically reattached. Impairment to use of the thumb was not yet fully determined.