Which power tool causes the most injuries?

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Forum topic by Dadoo posted 12-17-2007 09:11 PM 21200 views 0 times favorited 71 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1790 posts in 5326 days

12-17-2007 09:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: safety question

One of the Jocks recently brought up a safety question regarding tablesaws. This got me to thinkin’ that there are a lot of power tools out there, which one could be the worst? What do you think?

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

71 replies so far

View jpw1995's profile


377 posts in 5634 days

#1 posted 12-17-2007 09:18 PM

I had a pretty good chunk taken out of my left ring finger by my table saw a couple years back, and I “nicked” a couple more in the same incident. I only call them nicks becasue compared to the big chunk that’s all they were. I think I read something somewhere that said the router and the bandsaw cause a ton of injuries.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 5210 days

#2 posted 12-17-2007 09:22 PM

They all have potential to seriously bite you. You cannot be casual with anything designed to eat or slice wood.

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5330 days

#3 posted 12-17-2007 09:30 PM

If I’m not mistaken, the table saw accounts for 40% of all woodworking injuries. This is in part due to the fact that it’s also one of the most owned/used machines in the shop.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5497 days

#4 posted 12-17-2007 09:34 PM

I haven’t heard of any other piece of equipment shooting wood through walls

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 5224 days

#5 posted 12-17-2007 09:50 PM

The main reason the table saw is so dangerous is the fact that you need a lot of knowledge to understand where the danger is. For most tools, if you do not put the hand in the blade there is no danger (most cutting tools). Putting the hand in the blade is probably only a minor contributor for table saw injuries. The problem, as MsDebbie points out, is that the table saw is a cannot first and a saw second. Maybe the question we should ask is what is the second most dangerous tool. Surprisingly (I read this somewhere but cannot remember where), chisels account for a large portion of ER visits (might be more than the table saw). Using chisels properly is even harder than understanding how the TS works.

The thing to learn with the TS is to never let go no matter how bad things get. The only serious accident I got in 3 years of woodworking was with a bad tablesaw because I let go too early (the guard was missing mostly because I could never align it with the blade). I immediately purchased a contractor saw and have been safe ever since. I do get myself cut regularly with the chisels (no ER visits though).


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5210 days

#6 posted 12-17-2007 09:58 PM

Probably the hammer.

How many of you have hit your thumb with a hammer?

Ooooooh, power tools. Sorry. Yea, table saw.

But you know what else is nasty? Drill press + gloves. Thats a bad combination. Gloves get sucked into the chuck and make Jello out of fingers.

Another one is circular saws (“skill saws”). They kickback just like table saws, but… it is the running saw and saw blade which goes flying toward you instead of just a chunk of wood. We get a lot of contractors coming in to our tool store with missing digits from circular saws.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5736 days

#7 posted 12-17-2007 09:59 PM

I little blood and some missing flesh when I touched the side of a table saw blade as I was bringing my hand back to the front of the saw.

A very sharp veneer knife.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 5275 days

#8 posted 12-17-2007 10:03 PM

I think the table saw can cause the most serious damage, it’s pretty unforgiving. My most common boo boo comes from my belt/disc sander combo when I’m holding a small piece and I end up removing finger prints along with wood.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 5450 days

#9 posted 12-17-2007 10:05 PM

I would say the hand drill. How many of you have you have a Phillips Head shaped scare on one of your fingers :). Ok, I don’t’ have a scare, but it sounded funnier.

View leonmcd's profile


204 posts in 5307 days

#10 posted 12-17-2007 10:06 PM

I’d vote for the radial arm saw. Even more dangerous than a table saw. The whole blade is mostly exposed and it has this scary climb cut feature where the blade is forced toward the user.

It can also throw things quite well. I had it knock my grinder off a table with a 3” x 3” x 6” block of pine. By my estimate it was going about 300 mph when it left the saw.

-- Leon -- Houston, TX - " I create all my own designs and it looks like it "

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5330 days

#11 posted 12-17-2007 10:31 PM


I agree that the radial saw is more dangerous than the table saw, but due to the fact that less people have them, there are less accidents with them. I had a radial saw years ago, but ended up using it only for cutting long stock down to usable dimensions.

Everything you do on radial saw is more dangerous, as you said, because the blade is right there. For almost every process, the table saw is safer.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5293 days

#12 posted 12-17-2007 11:01 PM

You would think a drum sander would be pretty safe. We were sanding raised panel cabinet doors with a Grizzley dual drum sander, and my partner cranked the handle down too much (in a hurry) and the sander shot the next door he fed into it out the front and across the room, finally crashing into a glavanised trash can bending it in half. I was catching, but walked away from the front of the machine to get a set of dial calipers. That would have been a serious injury if I was in the path of that door. Yes, table saws are dangerous but ANY power tool has the ability to hurt you.


View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1530 posts in 5461 days

#13 posted 12-17-2007 11:14 PM

I went out looking for real numbers, and found The Consumer Products Safety Commission Hazard Screening Report: Power Tools and Workshop Equipment. It doesn’t give as much of a breakdown as one might like, but for the period 1997-2002 it puts “Bench or table saws” at 31,884 ER room visits, 64,651 medically treated injuries, third behind “Manual Workshop Tools” and “Miscellaneous workshop”, but well ahead of categories like “Saws, not specified”, “Grinder, buffer polisher”, or “Welding, soldering, cutting torches”.

Obviously there are likely reporting issues and other problems, and none of these numbers are broken down per hours of use, but for a whole bunch of reasons table saws continue to scare me.

However, table saws have a ”$0” millions in death costs, whereas those torches and lifts and jack stands will kill ya. Maiming and disfigurement generally beats death, but it’s still a matter of “sucks less”.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View tooldork's profile


4 posts in 5152 days

#14 posted 12-17-2007 11:14 PM

I agree that a table saw has the potential to be the most dangerous tool for a number of reasons already stated (prevalence amongst users) but I think lack of proper safety precautions and complacency due to heavy use probably play just as big a role.

I’ve heard that the router is probably the most dangerous because the damage inflicted by a saw blade is relatively “clean” as opposed to a router that will take chunks of flesh instead of a cut. Also, once the bit hits something to cut, it “grabs” on.

Either way, it is important to respect the tools.

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5428 days

#15 posted 12-18-2007 01:20 AM

I’m thinking the most dangerous tool is the one being used at any particular moment. They’re ALL dangerous when not respected. I’ve seen some pretty nasty fingers on framers that just use a hammer all day (I know, I know, that doesn’t count). Probably right about the tablesaw though. At least those framer’s fingers were still on their hand.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

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