Mark J

Sad Storry to Share

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This is one of those 'it happened to a friend of mine stories'--it was the guy sitting next to me at my woodworking club.  

He was changing the blade on his table saw.  The saw is equiped with a safety switch, one of those big red paddles with a recessed on switch.  

The saw suddenly turned on and tore up his hand.  Very bad injury, but after surgery and 4 to 6 months he's expected to make a good recovery, although I don't think the heal on something like this is ever 100%.  

After accident evaluation:  the cell phone in his pocket had tilted just so and the corner of the phone was just pointed enough to acctuate the on switch.  

Sad story, but it is important to learn from these events so I'm sharing the story.  The lesson is clear, but nothing says "off" like seeing the 3 prongs of the power plug surrounded by 2 feet of air.

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YIKES! I like the pull type switch that is on my saw. I can't purposefully turn it on sometimes when i have a project piece in my hand.

Hope he recovers.

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For me I feel for your friend but I may be old fashioned but when ever I change the blade the saw is getting unplugged I don't care what kind of switch you have .I take my chances all day long with unplugging it 

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Sorry about your friend.  I admit that I unplug most every tool except my cabinet saw when changing a blade. Not to good I guess.

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Its real bad that this happened but it is always good to hear about.  Every time something comes up that created an accident, I walk through my shop even if it is just in my mind and see if my machines have the potential of creating the same accident. 

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LOTO (Lock out Tag Out) is so important for exactly this reason!

As many of you know, I work as a safety person in (mostly) oil refineries.  It never ceases to amaze me what I see people trying to do by taking shortcuts when the safety guy isn't watching.  They will actually go out of their way because it's faster and try to hurt themselves!

Shop safety 101 - unplug it before you work on it!

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I hope your friend does well.   Your story refreshes one of my paranoid concerns!

I leave every power tool, other than the dust collector, unplugged when not in use.  I try to leave the plugs where I can visibly see that they are unplugged.

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It's a good reason not hard wire a stationary power tool if a plug is an option.

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53 minutes ago, Mark J said:

It's a good reason not hard wire a stationary power tool if a plug is an option.

Ya your right … My table saw is hard wired but I the breaker box isn't that far. 

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@Mark J thanks for the reminder. I admit it,  I get lazy about unplugging the TS. I just got a new one but this is a great reminder of the consequences of not taking 2 seconds to be safe. Appreciate it sir and best wishes to your friend's recovery.

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My safety practices have increase greatly over the last couple of years, but I don't unplug the saw when changing blades cause it can't start when you're touching anything anyway. But I'm going to change that & start unplugging every time. It's just a better habit to unplug everything & not have to think about which tool would be safe & which would not.

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@drzaius, electronic controls fail. Trusting the tech to help you out during operation is one thing, but NEVER trust it during maintenance. A good childhood friend lost his Dad when we were about 13. A "safety switch" failed on a cotton baler that he did not lock out to service, and it crushed him. As in, closed-casket funeral.

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Ross, that is gosh awful.  Sorry bud that you and especially your friend had to experience that. 

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Oh my - that's terrible.  It does make think about how often I actually unplug it when working on it (It's not 'never', but it is rare).  I'll definitely rethink that.

This reminds me of what happened to my brother (and is always on my mind when I think of saw accidents) - he was on a jobsite and unplugged the saw.  Someone else needed to plug something in, and plugged in the wrong cord.  It got his fingers pretty good, and although the recovery went well he still to this day has limited feeling and some grip issues with his hand.

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Thanks for posting... I confess I'm lazy about that. Nobody else is ever in my shop so there are no changes to tools when I leave. It's just me and my wife. I don't unplug the TS but I think about it... It's on a breaker strip so it would be easy enough to flip the breaker off, but I don't even do that.

So far I still have all my fingers but this is a good reminder. I'm not a safety guy but I've overseen enough shops to know better. I think when you work by yourself you convince yourself you're safe, that only happens to the "other guy."

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Sorry to hear about your friend. My dad always told me a tool without power cannot hurt you. I have remembered that for more than 50 years and have passed it on to my adult son. I suffered a pretty severe table saw cut 5 years ago when my commercially made push stick slipped over the edge of the board, dragging my left hand across the blade. Full recovery, but the memory does not fade, trust me!

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Important to consider ALL energy sources for lockout. In my company, we use checklists that include eliminating energy from:

electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, steam, springs, gravity and radiation.

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6 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

Important to consider ALL energy sources for lockout. In my company, we use checklists that include eliminating energy from:

electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, steam, springs, gravity and radiation.

Very good point. Lots of people just think about electricity when considering lockout.

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On 1/11/2019 at 7:32 AM, wtnhighlander said:

Important to consider ALL energy sources for lockout. In my company, we use checklists that include eliminating energy from:

electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, steam, springs, gravity and radiation.

I've been bit by springs.  Recently an acquaintance lost a thumb (it's been re-attached successfully) from a garage door spring.  As a teenager I nearly lost  a finger from a lawn mower with a spring loaded starter.

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