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Thread: 31,400 Table Saw Accidents a Year

  1. #16
    Excellent discussion. Threads such as these are EXTREMELY important. My desire is for 0% injuries over my woodworking career. My tolerance is 0.0%. At least, that's my goal. As long as I stay vigilant and safe, I believe I can make my goal happen. Threads like these are ever so important for reinforcing that in all of us. I am always careful of the dangers of Table Saws, but it always helps to have a reminder. I saw a clip once, linked by one of these threads, to a demonstration of kickback. I had never seen what kickback actually could be until that video. It was an excellent reinforcement/lesson to my goal of 0 injuries. Almost every time I get ready to use the TS that video plays over in my head. I don't believe I need to see a clip of hand to blade contact though. I'm pretty sure I can imagine those results.

    Now that I re-read my post, I guess I have nothing really to add except for gloating that I like the thread!!


  2. #17
    I'm still waiting for the posts that talk about how blade guards get in the way just like motorcycle helmets. Oh wait, actually, I'm not waiting, here comes one now.

  3. #18
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    I would like to know out of 31,400 injuries.. how many were operator induced opposed to how many were actually the saw's fault. I don't have any numbers personally but.. I would guess around 31,000 were due to the operator doing something he shouldn't and the vast % of those the operator probably knew better before he did it. And for those that didn't know better.. they should have before they operated the saw I would think.

    To quote Forrest Gump... stupid is as stupid does....
    Last edited by John Thompson; 03-01-2010 at 12:38 PM.
    Sarge..

    Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia
    Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    I would like to know out of 31,400 injuries.. how many were operator induced opposed to how many were actually the saw's fault. I don't have any numbers personally but.. I would guess around 31,000 were due to the operator doing something he shouldn't and the vast % of those the operator probably knew better before he did it. And for those that didn't know better.. they should have before they operated the saw I would think.

    To quote Forrest Gump... stupid is as stupid does....
    I would think that, excepting for actual machine failure as in a blade exploding or the like, all were some kind of operator error. I can't recall the last time I ran across a saw that had malevolent tendencies built in (although I'm sure there have been some that could be attributed to designer error).

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    I would like to know out of 31,400 injuries.. how many were operator induced opposed to how many were actually the saw's fault. I don't have any numbers personally but.. I would guess around 31,000 were due to the operator doing something he shouldn't and the vast % of those the operator probably knew better before he did it. And for those that didn't know better.. they should have before they operated the saw I would think.

    To quote Forrest Gump... stupid is as stupid does....
    I would guess the number due to the saws fault would be higher than that. I don't know for sure ... just guessing. I lost the tip of a finger to a powermatic miter gauge that broke while I was using it. I know two other guys who have lost digits to table saws; one due to a ridgid fence that didn't stay tight, and another to a craftsman table saw whose fence also came loose. So in my tiny, tiny, sample of 3 people all of us lost a finger due to a malfunction. I'm in no way saying that 100% of accidents are caused by a malfunction ... but my guess would be more around 25%. In my opinion the cheaper the saw the more likely it will malfunction ... and there are probably thousands of really cheap saws out there. My powermatic wasn't cheap or low quality ... but the included miter gauge was.
    If a brad nailer shoots brads, and a pin nailer shoots pins, a framing nailer must shoot framers ... right?

  6. #21

    Hi, I am a table saw accident statistic......

    Yep.

    Kickback while trying a short test piece to adjust for a dado cut. I didnt take the time to cut a zero clearance insert, and the piece dived into the front of the dado blade and then kicked back and up into the notch between my thumb and palm. (this was about 10 years ago an all works fine now, with a slight audible 'click' when bending my thumb)

    The emergency room surgeon (yep, an emergency room visit to get a couple pins put in where the thumb socket bone broke, and sew up the tissue of course)... anyway, this surgeon says he was once a woodworker him self. But over the years of sewing people up has since decided he will not have a table saw in his house. Toooo many accidents. Said if I had his job I would feel the same.

    So put me in the 50% that came out on the wrong side of the statistics. I still do woodworking and enjoy it very much. I am more careful now, remind myself to take the time and inconvenience of safety seriously as top priority, and am just more generally aware.

    It is no fun, and not even possible to live a zero risk life.

    Fingers crossed/knock on wood... all that jazz.

  7. #22
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    When I got into this hobby almost 20 years ago, newbies and old timers used to hang out on usenet's rec.woodworking. I remember a lot of the discussions about guards and such. The old timers used to dismiss the effectiveness of the then not so advanced blade guards. What they would often cite are knowing how to properly use the tool, not to fear the tool, but to have respect for the tool. They also used to advise us newcomers to listen to that little voice in the back of your head. That isn't talked about much anymore. But after 20 years of working with dangerous machines, they were right. There are times, when it just doesn't feel right. Those are the times to stop right there, find a different tool for the task, build a jig or go "neander".

    Maybe I'm starting to think like those old timers, but I think this newer generation of woodworkers are filled with too much fear of the tool than the required amount of respect.

  8. #23
    I think we should blame all these injuries on Home Improvement shows...

    Years ago homeowners were exposed only to danger from lawnmowers and jig saws, DIY is so popular now power equipment has opened up new world of hazards for them. Some tools that a 30 or 40 years ago would be unknown outside a professional setting, table saws and nail guns, especially are now cheap enough that any homeowner can afford them to have in their basements to maime themselves...

  9. #24
    Everyone assumes that all of these injuries are blade related.
    Last night I was moving my table saw, I smashed my finger between the saw & another machine. Today the finger is swollen & black & blue. If I go to the Doctor, the injury will be reported as a table saw related finger injury. The same would go for someone that is injured unloading a table saw from a vehicle.

    My favorite statistic is the following.
    100 percent of the people alive today will die at some point in their lifetime.

  10. #25
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    The problem I have with all of these Sawstop discussions is that a lot of figures are thrown around as if they are an accurate picture of the risk.

    I do not wish to take anything away from the Sawstop -- it has a fantastic device -- and I wish that the world worked in a way that we could include the device with every new table saw sold.

    But there is no way today to determine the relative safety of the Sawstop vs say ... the new Unisaw. In a previous post on this subject a study was referenced where an attempt was made to more accurately track the actual tool involved -- but it was over a very short period in one area and the actual process was not referenced. We have no way of knowing how many of these injuries involved a contractor hanging a $100.00 saw between two horses sitting on a 2x10 and a properly set up saw in a shop.

    I am in the risk business and I deal with catastrophic injuries -- this does not make me an expert on this subject -- but I read a lot of these studies. Tools are dangerous -- table saws are dangerous -- hand held circular saws are dangerous.

    When you buy a car do you get one with all the safety devices available and reject all others? How about the weight load and construction of the ladder you use?? If you work as a house framer .... Are you more likely to get hurt by cutting, nailing or falling??

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Nagle View Post
    When I got into this hobby almost 20 years ago, newbies and old timers used to hang out on usenet's rec.woodworking. I remember a lot of the discussions about guards and such. The old timers used to dismiss the effectiveness of the then not so advanced blade guards. What they would often cite are knowing how to properly use the tool, not to fear the tool, but to have respect for the tool. They also used to advise us newcomers to listen to that little voice in the back of your head. That isn't talked about much anymore. But after 20 years of working with dangerous machines, they were right. There are times, when it just doesn't feel right. Those are the times to stop right there, find a different tool for the task, build a jig or go "neander".
    I guess i'm just mildly retarded, because my worst woodworking injuries (thankfully nothing more than really deep cuts, etc) are from neander tools.
    Never underestimate the danger of a plane blade/chisel polished to 1/2 micron

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Godley View Post
    The problem I have with all of these Sawstop discussions is that a lot of figures are thrown around as if they are an accurate picture of the risk.

    I do not wish to take anything away from the Sawstop -- it has a fantastic device -- and I wish that the world worked in a way that we could include the device with every new table saw sold.

    But there is no way today to determine the relative safety of the Sawstop vs say ... the new Unisaw. In a previous post on this subject a study was referenced where an attempt was made to more accurately track the actual tool involved -- but it was over a very short period in one area and the actual process was not referenced.
    We have no way of knowing how many of these injuries involved a contractor hanging a $100.00 saw between two horses sitting on a 2x10 and a properly set up saw in a shop.

    I am in the risk business and I deal with catastrophic injuries -- this does not make me an expert on this subject -- but I read a lot of these studies. Tools are dangerous -- table saws are dangerous -- hand held circular saws are dangerous.

    When you buy a car do you get one with all the safety devices available and reject all others? How about the weight load and construction of the ladder you use?? If you work as a house framer .... Are you more likely to get hurt by cutting, nailing or falling??
    0% of the injuries were at work


    Despite improved guards and the addition of riving knives, tablesaw injuries are still alarmingly common. A new report shows that an average of 31,400 people are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every year for tablesaw injuries. This figure doesn't include accidents on the job.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Godley View Post
    The problem I have with all of these Sawstop discussions ...
    You do realize that this was the first mention of Sawstop in the thread?

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Godley View Post
    The problem I have with all of these Sawstop discussions is that a lot of figures are thrown around as if they are an accurate picture of the risk.

    I do not wish to take anything away from the Sawstop -- it has a fantastic device -- and I wish that the world worked in a way that we could include the device with every new table saw sold.

    But there is no way today to determine the relative safety of the Sawstop vs say ... the new Unisaw. In a previous post on this subject a study was referenced where an attempt was made to more accurately track the actual tool involved -- but it was over a very short period in one area and the actual process was not referenced. We have no way of knowing how many of these injuries involved a contractor hanging a $100.00 saw between two horses sitting on a 2x10 and a properly set up saw in a shop.

    I am in the risk business and I deal with catastrophic injuries -- this does not make me an expert on this subject -- but I read a lot of these studies. Tools are dangerous -- table saws are dangerous -- hand held circular saws are dangerous.

    When you buy a car do you get one with all the safety devices available and reject all others? How about the weight load and construction of the ladder you use?? If you work as a house framer .... Are you more likely to get hurt by cutting, nailing or falling??
    I try to forget the numbers and instead I focus on the fact that Table Saws demand a lot of respect!

    So I build as many lines of defense in as possible, and so the SawStop would just be the front-line if you can afford it. I use jigs for every cut, and I have handles on those jigs, well away from the blade for both hands, and my hands do not leave those handles until the blade is fully stopped. Then I have a very thin stick that clears away any off cuts from the blade area.

    Yes it's slow going, but slow and steady wins the race! Of course this is a race you can't afford to lose.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Darby View Post
    So I build as many lines of defense in as possible, and so the SawStop would just be the front-line if you can afford it. I use jigs for every cut, and I have handles on those jigs, well away from the blade for both hands, and my hands do not leave those handles until the blade is fully stopped. Then I have a very thin stick that clears away any off cuts from the blade area.
    That's the approach all of us should take with all tools. However, I would say that a SawStop is actually the last line of defense, not the first line.

    An airbag on a car is similar to a SawStop. You still want a well maintained car that you know how to operate and know its limitations and you don't want to operate it when your ability is impaired and you want to wear your seat belt and drive defensively. You don't neglect any of these other precautions just because you have an air bag.

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