View Full Version : Tablesaw injury
As I walked by the TV this morning, a news show was talking about a high school student who had severed her hand, or perhaps part of a hand, in a shop class. I didn't hear the whole thing and wonder if anyone else did and knows what happened.
I am a student in a community college furniture making class. Our instructor spent a lot of time on safety: Where to place one's hands, body, and mind while using the tablesaw. I always try to visualize where my hands will be throughout the cutting before I start the wood into the blade.
Did anyone hear this report? I am pretty shaken up about this.
D for Dusty
12-30-2001, 09:05 PM
Yes it was quite the article. The student involved is from Skowhegan Maine. I located the accident online here from the Bangor Daily News, dated Dec 24.Hope it works..
Massachusetts doctors reattach severed hand
Skowhegan girl?s accident with saw happened in school carpentry class
SKOWHEGAN ? Surgeons in Boston have reattached a 16-year-old girl?s hand that was accidentally cut off during a carpentry class at Skowhegan Regional Vocational Center.
Erin Ingersoll, who lives in Moscow, was cutting molding shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday when she brought the blade of a power miter saw down on her left wrist, slicing off her hand.
Ray Arbour, director of the school, said surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital reattached her hand, and that blood is flowing through it and she has movement in all fingers.
?We?re pretty excited about it here,? Arbour said. ?It was a miracle we were hoping would happen, and it has happened.?
Ingersoll attends the vocational center as well as Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial High School in Bingham, where she is a junior.
After the accident, teachers and school nurses slowed the bleeding and put the severed hand on ice, Arbour said.
She was taken by ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, and then to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she arrived about 3 p.m. Thursday.
Troy Ingersoll, the girl?s older brother, said the surgery was completed about 3:30 a.m.
?They don?t know yet whether [the hand will] be functional or not,? he said.
Arbour said 14 students in the carpentry class met Friday morning with teachers and administrators to talk about the accident.
?They admitted they were in shock [Friday],? Arbour said. ?Some of them are still struggling a lot today.?
Arbour said he plans to go to Boston on Wednesday and will take letters written by Ingersoll?s classmates. The school is sending a bouquet of flowers.
Arbour said the Ingersoll family does not have health insurance.
Troy Ingersoll, a senior at Valley High, said students and teachers raised almost $2,000 on Friday to help the family, and the local food cupboard and grocery store donated a $250 gift certificate.
Ingersoll?s condition was listed as good on Saturday, a hospital spokesman said.
12-31-2001, 06:31 PM
So it was a miter saw, not a table saw. I suspect she was holding the wood against the fence with her left hand. When I was working on a Habitat for Humanity house I saw someone getting ready to cut some molding with the left hand crossed under the blade -- I yelled at her to stop and went over and had a discussion on safety. It is hard to believe that someone would position an arm directly under the blade, but I think some people do not have very good spatial perception and just do not visualize the path the blade will take.
I consider a miter saw much safer than a table saw because it is not likely to produce kickback. My only saw injury was from a pruning saw! It was not even a power saw, just a pull it yourself type. I can attest that one of those super sharp Japanese tree saws can cut a pretty significant chunk of flesh if you turn your head to talk to someone!
Thanks, Johanna and Dusty, for your replies. I guess I should have thought about doing a web search for the story.
As a student, I recently had an example of spatial screwup with a miter saw. But not a bodily injury. I thought I was cutting a piece of trim longer than required to allow for adjustment, but I got mixed up and pushed it the wrong way and made it too short. Just inexperience looking at the piece from that perspective.
I feel much more comfortable when I control the position of the blade than when the blade comes out of the table. But a cabinet maker told me, "Remember, the blade is not going anywhere, you are in command of where your hands are." It was a clarifying moment for me.
Anyway, thanks again, and God bless the young lady's surgeons.
01-04-2002, 01:38 PM
oh, wow, i hadn't seen this on the news......
migawd, both of my hands are feeling "creepy" just reading about this........its really wonderful that the surgeons are able to re-attach her hand, and i sure hope that it will work out alright....
i've been around saw machines for years and years, and, truth is, i'm still dead scared of making some sort of stupid mistake and being injured.....
the idea that this tragedy might have been the result of some sort of "perceptual inversion" is really scary.....cos this has happened to me, too.....
i thought it was just me.....has anyone else had the experience of seeing...or visualising... anything "reversed" or "inside out", so to speak????
D for Dusty
01-04-2002, 04:05 PM
This was such a scary thing to read about..We have all heard of injuries and perhaps even some have heard of amputations.
I dont know if this would fall under perceptual invertion or not but I am left handed and when instruction is given in anything, the majority of the time its given by a right handed person. Most everything is set up in a right handed world as we all know. I havent found using the power tools in general difficult for me as a lefty, but have stopped to think many times wondering if i was doing this right or properly I should say. While taking lessons in golf, by a right handed instructor, I was always a step behind. I was always converting what he was saying into my left handed world. When one says, "now for you lefties", I know Im in trouble. I heard it alot in golf. I didnt hear it often in my woodworking classes, but because of always trying to convert to left handed ways, it makes me stop and think all the time.
Now with this miter saw injury and trying to picture how it could have happened, I can visualize it. I, myself have stepped to the right of the blade holding the wood with my right hand and using my left hand to control the blade. Shamefully, but in the process of learning, I have also crossed my left hand over to the right side holding the wood and using my right hand to use the blade. I stopped myself or perhaps was stopped by another woodworker, thankfully. A left handed world is a pain in the ^$$ at times, but it has made me stop and think before I have continued on, which is a good thing in woodworking..
Just my input..Have a great weekend everyone!!!!
Lance Granum (Guest)
01-05-2002, 03:38 PM
My wife and Dr. Stroh an Emergency physician at University Medical Center in Fresno Ca. wrote an important article I must share with this group. UMC is a level one trauma center that serves a 9 county region in central California Both Dr. Stroh and Sandra are woodworkers Sandra is a Teacher, together they wrote about shop related accidents and the measures to remember incase such an accident occurs. As a nurse at that same hospital in the ER I can assure you that these accidents are frequent but it is usually digital and not often the entire limb. This crucial article can be seen here http://www.thisoldworkshop.com/whatif.htm. Safety First!
Lance Granum RN
Hi, you have probably had loads of replies but do read this,
I am an experienced fem woodworker being trianed at uni. and having been in as I thought total control whist I was sawing some timber the last 4 inch being wet I pushed the peice through with a push stick but foolishly put my hand on the timber to the rear of the blade, as the blade started to cut the wet bit it binded and shot the timber back at me, with my hand still holding it, resulting in having 21 stitches in 3 fingers.
that was some time ago and I still am very weary while using my sawtable even today.
1. used correctly they are safe, used incorrectly are very dangerous.
2 always use a push stick.
3 NEVER put your HAND/FINGER behine the blade.
4 never hold your work peice to tightly, just enough to keep it straight.
5. If it slips, binds or catches, let it go. You alays cut some more wood off again, but you cant cut your hand off again.
I am 36 female still virgo intacto if your excuse the pun,
came close but still got all my parts.