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Shop Injuries

by cpt_hammer
posted 04-14-2008 03:08 PM

25 replies so far

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4426 days

#1 posted 04-14-2008 03:49 PM

I would also say something along the lines of making sure a workbench or tool is properly supported. Aside from the obvious possibility of part of it falling on you and crushing you, can you imagine if your table saw tipped toward you while on???? Eeek! That goes double for bench top tools not falling off or your bench.


-- He said wood...

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4549 days

#2 posted 04-14-2008 03:50 PM

Sounds like some sound advice.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4435 days

#3 posted 04-14-2008 04:36 PM

Also, don’t work in the shop while using pain meds!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View HallTree's profile


5665 posts in 4328 days

#4 posted 04-14-2008 05:51 PM

Think ahead. After you start pushing the wood through is not the time to say to yourself “use pushsticks”, or “set up the outfeed”, or “clear the stuff off of the outfeed table”, or “set the blade up higher” or “put on the safety glass, dust mask, or ear plugs”, or ”.....................”

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4383 days

#5 posted 04-14-2008 06:03 PM

Nice practical post. It contains advice for all of us to heed.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4360 days

#6 posted 04-14-2008 07:13 PM

The worst injury ever was my ego when I screwed up some really expensive wood by making cuts that were off by too much.

-- making sawdust....

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4303 days

#7 posted 04-14-2008 10:29 PM

Consider removing wedding and other rings while in the shop. I tried to life something way too heavy a few years ago and had to have a smashed wedding ring cut off my finger. Thankfully the finger was o.k.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4523 days

#8 posted 04-14-2008 10:57 PM

My injury is one that you just don’t think about until it is too late. Always wear hearing protection. I expect some of you are saying, ’ yeah, it is getting harder to hear as we get older’. I am here to tell you that the routers, shop vac’s , planers, all that stuff is so loud that it will steal some of your hearing when you are using it. It is just like that too, it steals your hearing a little at a time. I am now deaf, completely, part of the problem was a genetic tendency towards deafness, but even though, no one else was affected this profoundly. You never know, always wear hearing protection. I now provide hearing protection for my friends and family visiting my shop. I also had cochlear implant surgery to hear. This is my biggest pet peeve and so I will now get down off of my soapbox. Just think about me sneaking in your shop to check to see if you are wearing hearing protection, or if you are letting something steal your hearing.

-- Berta in NC

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1254 posts in 4560 days

#9 posted 04-15-2008 02:21 AM

Well, I have to admit this is a new one for me. I’m in the final steps of completing my version of the new fangled workbench and was moving the top, back and forth over the leg assembly. It’s 2’ x 4’ x 2” thick with a 50 pound Craftsman woodworking vise on one end. Weighs about 125 lbs. Never actually picked it up , just moving, flipping it top to bottom, so I could get to the bottom and fit it to the leg assembly base.

Well, low and behold,, I hear a giant BOING sounds from my left elbow. Felt like a 110 volt shock. The arm went weak and I called it a night.

Turns out, I ruptured my bicep tendon, the tendon that connects my muscle to my elbow. Completely snapped like a broken rubber band. Apparently very common for guys between 40 and 60 (I’m 51). The Dr said he never see’s this type of injury with women, I guess the ladies are not stupid enough to move anything so darn heavy. So, at 51, I’ve blown a gasket!. Didn’t even know this could happen. The surgery is later today. 2 weeks in a sling then up to 8 weeks of physical therapy.

Hey older jocks, be careful in the shop. I thought this was heavy but not THAT heavy. Get some help moving stuff

-- Bob A in NJ

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 4365 days

#10 posted 04-15-2008 02:42 AM

I put a 16 penny framing nail from an air nailer through my left thumb into a ceiling joist while standing on top of a six foot ladder. Used the claw hammer to pull the nail out, washed the wound and poured peroxide on it. Put a bandaid on it and wrapped the whole thing up in duct tape. Went back and finished up the framing job making sure to keep left hand clear of the framing gun. Still have not given complete details to wife as to how it happened.

Had a near miss turning a big bowl. There was a void in the bowl that I didn’t notice and the thing blew apart on the lathe. I was wearing a full face shield that got shattered. Other than few minor cuts and having the scare of my life I was none the worse for the wear. From that day forward I always put on a full face shield before I turn the lathe on – even if I know it will be running only for a few moments.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4275 days

#11 posted 04-15-2008 03:16 AM

I was doing a remodel job for my brother in law one year. I took a 15 inch long 2×4 and was ripping it down the centerline with the table saw blade angled at 45 degrees. I was standing on the right side of the saw and I reached around to grab the wood as it passed thru. Instead of grabbing its top and bottom, (yeah, you guessed it)- I grabbed the sides. This closed the kerf and pinched the blade, shooting that board like a missile. It also pulled my hand into the blade. I heard TING and thought, aw man, I connected. I looked at my right hand and the saw just barely cut the tip of my right middle finger. I was very, very lucky… and also very, very stupid. The finger healed with no stiches or loss in length (or even fingerprint).

Now, I use pushsticks, guards, jigs, featherboards, or anything else I can use to keep myself away from that big, sharp, spinning, metal wheel of death… lol.

Something else I use is a pressure switch. I have a on/off footpedal for my machines. It’s not the type that you press once and it’s on, press again and off. It’s the type that you have to keep your foot on to operate (like a sewing machine pedal). That way, if I get in a bind and can’t let go of the materal, I remove my foot and the machine stops. It’s handy as heck.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View coolbreeze's profile


104 posts in 4296 days

#12 posted 04-15-2008 04:27 AM

I like the wheel of death, Steve. That’s about what it is. I was cutting a piece of birch plywood, standing on the right side of the saw. I made the mistake of leaving part of my project sitting on the work area/cutoff table just far enough to keep the material from passing all the way through the blade. Well, after some contemplation, I had to reach to the left side for the switch while holding the board with my right. I stretched as far as I could with my left arm to make sure I didn’t get behind the blade (no way I’m doing that) which was apparently a little further than my arm was long. I tweaked the board just a hair and the blade picked it up quicker than Richard Gere picks up women and shot it right at my left forearm. I’m blessed because 1) I actually thought about it first 2) The board hit me flat side (it was rectangular) instead of at the corner & 3) God made me a skinny man, but I have forearms that are as hard as a rock. It was a pretty shade of purple the next day, though. I’ll tell you what, there’s never been anything on the table behind my saw when I’m ripping since.

-- Jason, AL

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4275 days

#13 posted 04-15-2008 04:39 AM

Jason- I did stuff like that on the tablesaw when I first got it (I don’t know how I still have all my body parts). Then, my wife bought me that foot pedal… it really makes things a whole lot safer now… I feel a lot more “in control.”

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 4306 days

#14 posted 04-15-2008 04:41 AM

I once broke a small blood vessel in my eye with the ear piece of the the safety glasses I was putting on. Hurt like he!! but not a big deal except that every time someone saw my glaringly red eye for the next couple of days and asked what happened I had to tell them that I stuck myself in the eye putting on my “safety glasses” and thereby outing myself as the dimmest wit on the planet . . .

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 4339 days

#15 posted 04-15-2008 08:41 AM

My two bits:

- Make sure the floor area around you work tools are kept clear of anything you can trip over.
- Think before you cut. Stop and find a better and safer way to make that cut if you have any question about safety. The few times I’ve ever had a near accident with a tool was when I was attempting something I knew was stupid.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View CaptnA's profile


116 posts in 4374 days

#16 posted 04-15-2008 03:21 PM

I had a very small piece of wood and needed a tiny hole in it. I grabbed the drill and the wood and held it firmly and drilled it. Right through the piece and into my hand… talk about bleeding!!! not only the bit making a hole but the cutting sides of the bit. Awesome piece of meat came out of that tiny hole~
It seems the monsters (tablesaw/radial arm/ etc) often grab our respect, but the little things go without fear. Right up until its too late~
Use tools for the purpose they are intended. Use the right tool for the job. Maintain your tools and treat them with the respect they deserve. Break down and read the owners manual for the tool.
One thing I’ve run into is ‘visitors’ in the shop. No one in there with ANY power tool running. The distraction isn’t worth the risk – to them or to me. Just like firearms, it isn’t the eqiupment that will ‘attack’ – its the people that know so much that scare the poop out of me.
Use your safety equipment. every time.
Eyes – you get ONE pair. they aren’t replaceable and to a large degree are not repairable. Its that one time you are in a hurry and think it will be okay this time, that will change your life forever.
Ears – same thing. Hearing loss is usually progressive and not noted usually until its permanantly damaged.
Lungs – One pair. You MIGHT get a second pair with a transplant. Why risk it. Use your respirator. Every time. Period. Anything is better than nothing. But – for what its worth get quality personal protection. Its your life.
To restate what has been said – if you think its stupid or not the best idea – STOP! If you’re not sure – STOP! Do it right and safe. Come here and ask for help. Find some local help.
I HATE asking for help. At 49 and after abusing my body for so many years – its ask for help or do without. Sheesh it sucks. So I find myself doing smaller projects that I can do alone. Hefting that cabinet, table saw, lathe, project in progress, etc alone just isn’t worth the days of wishing I hadn’t….
Good topic and something we all need to keep on top of.

-- CaptnA - "When someone hurts you, write it in the sand so the winds of forgiveness will scatter the memory... "

View pyromedic602's profile


164 posts in 4309 days

#17 posted 04-15-2008 04:05 PM

I have been very lucky with all the dim witted manuvers I have made. with that said the worst shop injury I have suffered was when I was attempting to rip a board. I set my rip fence for the cut off not the board. Needless to say when the cut was finished the cutoff was trapped between the blade and the fence and came shooting back at me catching me square in the gut. I carried around a nice bruise for several days, lost my appetite for a while and had to answer a milion questions from my wife but learned a very valuable lesson about fences and cutoffs mixing like oil and water.

-- Pyromedic602, free wood is always good wood

View SM's profile


77 posts in 4256 days

#18 posted 04-15-2008 07:29 PM

Lookout below
I just reached under the router table to take the router out and it slipped past my hand, slicing my finger open as the bit went by. The worst of it, is it makes it hard to type! (Yes, the router if fine, thanks.)

-- SM

View CoolDavion's profile


461 posts in 4385 days

#19 posted 04-16-2008 04:43 PM

I’ve got a tip. – if some one wants to talk to you, stop what you are doing. I scratched my finder while answering my daughter’s question and prying a nail at the sametime.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View cpt_hammer's profile


133 posts in 4373 days

#20 posted 04-21-2008 01:12 PM

Interesting update: My brother-n-law has joined me in the quest for dangers of the drill. He was drilling a hole for a derby car race in his son’s derby car and put a hole all the way through his hand. After waiting till the next morning, he finally went the emergency room and was taken care of. My wife was on the phone with her sister when she told us of the injury. Of course my wife couldn’t understand her hardly because she was laughing so hard that he did this two weeks after I hurt myself.

View Moron's profile


5043 posts in 4454 days

#21 posted 04-21-2008 01:56 PM

watched a fella run an unjointed piece of wood through the shaper…...he has two stubbiy fingers now

watched the plant manager give a lesson on how to use a router safely…..nipped a finger off during the lesson

heard the scream from a guy who was ripping lumber and a piece of oak (severly honey combed) exploded sending a piece of timber through his wrist and exiting below the elbow. six months later, the same guy had a piece of wood go into the eye….....lost the eye

seen a guy put his hand across a large rip blade only to have the blade catch is wedding band and pull the whole hand into the saw. Picked his fingers from inside the tablesaw, the thumb was stuck in the gullet. he lost three fingers and a thumb. They were able to re-attach one finger and put another finger on for his thumb…..........nasty.

watched a guy pick up a 2×8 and rip it on his leg…...........nasty leg wound

I really couldnt count the accidents I have seen and been near. I personally sharpened my left index finger having a piece of timber on the wrong side of the fence while shaping cove mould????

If it doesnt feel safe… probably isnt. If you”feel” fear then dont do it.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 4499 days

#22 posted 04-21-2008 01:56 PM

When I was younger I liked to show everyone how hard I could work. Well I had a run in with a sledge hammer and a brick wall. I was busting out a wall to put in a garage door and had 95% of the blocks busted. I went back with the sledge to clean up the edges and my tired arms failed me. I swung and missed and took off the end of my pointer finger. After a trip to the doc I was stiched up, and had a metal plate in my finger. The plate lasted till my girlfriend at the time stepped on my finger. For the most part my finger is good now. I just have 9 finger nails, and 2 thumb nails..

This didn’t happen in my shop, but I learned a good lesson. There is no shame in resting. Bad things happen when you are tired and playing with big tools!

I have seen my fair share of injuries on a job site. I started out as a framer and for some reason i worked with a few silly people. I seen one guy reach under a piece of plywood to make sure the blade was coming through. He did this while the saw was running. Seen two guy get bucked off laddders because they didn’t lock them on a rung. The stair hole claimed a guy or two. And last but not least. A few months ago a friend of mine stuck his finger in a hole on a car frame. My other body was lowering the jack at the same time. He now has a knubby finger. I won’t tell you guys what happened to my spring making buddy when he was rolling a spring and something snapped. Wire that is close to 3/8 thick can do some serious damage.

View SplinterDave's profile


15 posts in 4253 days

#23 posted 04-21-2008 10:42 PM

A few years ago I purchased a new 12” miter saw. I was really happy to get it and had been looking for a project to put it to use on. My son was in the process of remodeling his house and was going to put down new baseboards. I told him to get them primed and painted and I’d bring my saw over to help him put them down. Things were going along just fine. He would measure and I’d cut. As we were getting just to the end of the job day light was fading and it looked like rain was on the way in. Since I had set the saw up outside to minimize the mess in the house I wanted to hurry to get the job done. Note the important word here “hurry.” NEVER, NEVER, NEVER hurry with power tools. Well I had the blade over to the right for a 45 cut and had a very short piece of molding to hold in the saw. Very early in the day I had quit using the manufacturer’s provided screw clamp and was using my left hand. Well as you might guess, with the saw moved over to the right for a 45 and my left hand fingers behind the fence, there was very little room for the fingers between the fence and the blade. I made the cut fine but when I released the trigger I let the saw come up out of the wood and at the same time must have released my grip on the board. This let my left index finger move away from the back of the fence and contact the blade that was still slowing down. You guessed it. I heard a Ding, Ding and felt a slight sting on my finger. I was afraid to look. When I did not come in the house with the cut piece my son came looking for me. I told him what happened and that I was not ready to look. As the feeling returned to my finger and it started to sting a bit I realized that it was the tip of my finger and I looked. I was real lucky. I sawed the finger nail off of my finger and did not cut any of the skin.
Every time I get near a power tool now I stop and think. I think about what I’m going to do, how I can do it safely, and I make sure I have my safety glasses on that I keep my arms, legs, fingers, and any other stuff out of the way. Most importantly, I take my time. If I have to hurry I wont do it. I’ll walk away until I have more time later on.
I hope someone reading this will remember it and avoid a potentially life altering event.
Good luck and stay safe.

View againstthegrain's profile


117 posts in 4313 days

#24 posted 04-22-2008 06:00 AM

Many years ago, when I owned an Audio/Visual Contracting firm, I was ripping 3/4 4×8 ply on my 5HP cabinet saw to build equipment racks, in my two car garage shop. Just behind me was a worktable, that flipped and doubled as my lathe table. My mind was NOT on what I was doing. I had lots of sheets to rip down to 24”, and I was thinking about everything else I had to do that day. I had just put a new sheet of ply into the saw, and was about a third of the way through it. I bound the wood against the fence and blade. The blade yanked it out of my hands, raised the full 4×8 up enough to spin it almost 90 degrees, and shot it back at me. Hit me square in the chest. Lifted me up over the lathe table, and on my back on the concrete floor. I couldn’t breath, as I tried to call for help. I was sure I had just broke every bone in my chest cavity. I had to crawl into the house, to find my wife. Needless to she, she got very upset.

Luckily, not a single broken bone. But I was black and blue for weeks.

Now, when I am in the shop, and I own VERY powerful tools, my mind in only on what I am doing. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s an obsession, but keep it safe. Stay focused on what your doing. Accidents happen in a split second.

-- Anchul - Warrensburg, MO: As a Pastor, I am just trying to get closer to Jesus. He was a woodworker too.

View coronet1967's profile


24 posts in 4511 days

#25 posted 04-22-2008 12:16 PM

was hanging shingles on a house with an old fellow several years ago, he kept a flask of vodka in his back pocket, often he would stop and take a little nip from it.

anyone can see where this is going.

about two hours in he hit his thumb with the 20 oz hammer he was using. (instantly blue) he stopped for a moment and, took another nip, and went back to work blue thumb and all, 15 minutes later he hit that thumb again this time he shot blood about 3 feet up the roof.

that was not good enough for him tho.

he threw his hammer which struck his truck breaking the glass in the passenger side door.

about halfway down the ladder he slipped and knocked himself out.

when he came back around he decided that he would not hang shingles anymore

from this i learned that alcohol and hammers never mix well

-- "not all those who wander are lost" JRR tolken

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