DIYers injured in workshop accidents discuss their mishaps and share their important safety advice for avoiding future workshop mistakes.
Workshop accidents can happen to any of us. Spinning saw blades are no match for flesh and bone. There’s no doubt about it, DIYing can be dangerous. Today we’re talking with a handful of DIYers who will relive their workshop mishaps, share why their accidents happened, and offer advice to fellow DIYers to avoid future mishaps.
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A few weeks ago Scott posted the comment below on the 9 Pocket Hole Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make post:
Here is a mistake I don’t want to make again. Never hold the joint with your hand as you drive in the screws. The driver tip slipped on me and drove into my palm of my hand. It hurt and I went to the doctor and after an x-ray, they cleared me of any broken bones, but this is very easy to do. Use a clamp to hold together for safety.”
First, I’m glad to hear Scott is OK. His accident could have been much worse. And second, his message is an important reminder to ALWAYS think safety first. Scott’s comment on the 9 Pocket Hole Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make post got me thinking. We need to talk about these mishaps. They serve as important safety reminders. Reminders that these accidents can happen to all of us. In a recent Saws on Skates newsletter, I asked DIYers in the Saws on Skates community to share their workshop accidents and to let me know what advice they would give to a fellow DIYer to avoid a mishap.
Oh, while I’m thinking about it, are you receiving the free Saws on Skates weekly newsletter? The newsletters feature DIY tips, furniture plans, occasional freebies, mystery posts and the opportunity for members to get involved. If you’re not receiving the newsletter scroll to the bottom of this post and enter your first name and email address. That’s it! And you never need to worry about me sending you spam and I never share the list with anyone.
Important Advice DIYers Want You to Know About Their Workshop Accidents
DIYers in the Saws on Skates community were asked to share their workshop mishaps and they delivered. Below, in their own words, they talk about their workshop accidents and share their advice to avoid future mishaps.
Ken – Table Saw Mishap
“My daughter-in-law wanted to help build a cradle for a friend expecting a baby. I was happy to have her in the shop with me wanting to learn some basic woodworking. Things were going great until I took a second to turn my head to check on her sanding. I did not want her to have the sander rub her hand or anything.”
“I was using the table saw and turned my head to glance her way, next thing I know my thumb was becoming one with the blade as it is running at full speed. I stopped what I was doing, turned the saw off and tapped her on the shoulder. Needless to say, a trip to the doctor was in order which invoked my son taking me and lecturing me on ‘SAFETY FIRST’.”
“Needless to say it was a while before I made it back to the shop. Good news is the cradle was completed and is beautiful. I have another scare to remind me to stay focused.”
Ken’s advice: Stay focused. Push sticks and push blocks are our friends.
Lindsay – Handsaw Mishap
“Many years ago I was using a handsaw (a simple task, right?), I was momentarily DISTRACTED, [the] saw dragged through [my] forefinger, middle joint, [and I needed] three stitches. Because of my silly mistake that finger has no feeling on the end, so every time I hold a tool, a pencil or just pick something up I now have a constant reminder TO KEEP MY MIND ON THE TASK IN FRONT OF ME, no matter how simple it is.”
Lindsay’s advice: Keep your mind on the task in front of you.
Joe – Sanding Mishap
“The other day I was sanding a chair with a random orbital sander. I was wearing gloves since it was cold in the shop. I caught the edge of my left index finger with the edge of the sanding pad as it was spinning. Cut right through the leather portion of my glove and sliced into the side of my finger. Luckily the glove took most of it. I always thought of my sander as pretty benign but I now know it could do some damage. I’ll definitely be more careful when using it from here on out.”
Frank B. – Table Saw Mishap
“I had just finished making a very thin cut [on the table saw]. I reached across the blade to the output side of the spinning blade. Although the saw was turned off, the blade was still spinning at a high rate of speed. I reached across the blade and picked up the thin strip of cut wood. The thin strip was between the blade and the fence.
When I picked up the strip, I also moved my hand back toward the spinning blade. Luckily, I only grazed the inside of my little finger on my right hand. I should have had a couple of stitches, but my wife and I stopped the bleeding and Super Glued [the cut]. Again I was very lucky. I was in a hurry trying to finish a small project before the day was over.”
Frank’s advice: Be quick, but never hurry or move without thinking. Never get near the blade until it comes to a complete stop.
Frank V. – Distractions
“My worst mishaps occur usually when I’m sawing, drilling or driving screws and someone, usually my wife or one of my grandkids sneaks up behind me. If I’m drilling or driving a screw I end up with a bloody finger or thumb…”
More Important Workshop Safety Tips
Thank you to all of the DIYers in the Saws on Skates community who shared their workshop mishaps. I hope their workshop accidents will encourage you to think “safety first” in your own workshop. Please take their advice to slow down, minimize distractions and stay focused to avoid mishaps.
In addition to our DIYers advice, it’s also important to know how to properly use our tools. Norm Abram’s of the New Yankee Workshop said it best “Before you use any power tools, be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury.”
Slowing down, minimizing distractions, staying focused and knowing how to use our tools is just part of workshop safety. We must take every precaution to protect ourselves every time we DIY.
We must wear work appropriate clothing when we DIY. Dress like a construction worker, not like you’re attending a barbecue on the beach! I see way too many DIYers posting progress pics of their projects and they’re wearing flip flops! Flip flops are NOT appropriate for DIYing. Have you ever seen a construction worker wearing flip flops on a job site? NO! Dressing like a construction worker means protecting our body while eliminating anything that could get caught in a spinning tool or saw blade. Wear appropriate footwear, eliminate loose fitting clothing/sleeves, restrain long hair/beards, remove jewelry, etc.
Protecting our eyes with safety glasses is a must. I just bought this pair of safety glasses and they’re a little different than regular safety glasses. They’re bifocals. In addition to providing eye protection, they also feature a small magnifying area molded into the lenses. The magnification is great for reading my tape measure and detail work.
We must protect our ears from loud tools like miter saws, table saws, Shop Vacs, dust collectors, etc. This pair of earmuffs has lots of positive reviews.
The table saw is one of the most dangerous tools in the workshop. In fact, two of our workshop mishaps involved a table saw. Ken’s advice was “Push sticks and push blocks are our friends.” and right now I’m digging the Grr-ripper 3D Push Block by MicroJig.
There are three key differences between a regular push block and the Grr-ripper and those differences are what makes the Grr-ripper the ultimate push block. First, MicroJig says “the downward pressure of the Grr-ripper virtually eliminates kickback and keeps the workpiece against the table.” Second, the Grr-ripper uses inward pressure to keep the workpiece against the fence and prevent burning the workpiece. Third, forward pressure advances the cut and controls both sides of the workpiece.
The Grr-ripper also features a “sawblade tunnel”. The tunnel allows the Grr-ripper to pass over the blade and acts as a moving blade guard.
First Aid Kit
Keep a first aid kit on hand in your workshop. If you do end up with an injury you’ll be able to tend to the wound right away. Be prepared for a workshop accident with a first aid kit.
Do you have a fire extinguisher in your workshop? Piles of sawdust and one small spark is a recipe for disaster. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your workshop stop reading this and get one now!
Workshop accidents can happen to any of us. Spinning saw blades are no match for flesh and bone. There’s no doubt about it, DIYing can be dangerous. I hope the DIYers in the Saws on Skates community workshop accidents will encourage you to think “safety first” in your own workshop. And remember their advice to slow down, minimize distractions and stay focused to avoid mishaps in your workshop.
Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott