# Ouch! Or Vans Safety lesson of the day

#### Van

##### CBMod
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Hey Folks!
I just got some bad news from across town. A carpenter, at another theatre here in Portland, lost a finger to a table saw last Friday. I don't have all the particulars yet, as to how exactly he did it, but I do know he lost the middle finger of his right hand and almost took off the pointy finger too. Apparently the finger was just too badly mangled and they could'nt re-attach it. They were able to save the index finger, though he may never feel anything in it again.

I want all of the students and pros out there to take a second to realize that he will never again be able to;
Hold a screw gun quite right
Use a hammer quite right
Write his name, the same way.
Button his shirt, without awkwardness.
Pick his nose.
Run his first two fingers over the surface of a board to feel if he got that high spot out with the palm sander.
Make little rubber strings by putting rubber cement on his index finger and thumb and squeezing them together.

Or Flip someone the bird, < which comes in quite handy in a proffessional scene shop>

Sure he will eventually learn to compensate, but he will never be the same. All of these thing and more, because of one moment of inattentivness while using a tool that most of us carps use every day.
I , happily, admit that I'm one Lucky SOB, after 25 some-odd years of carping, I still have all 20 phalanges, and most importantly my manual digits are still in real good shape. I've had my share of bumps and bruises, even tried to put a phillips screw bit through the middle of my palm with a Makita once, once, but all in all I've been extremely lucky.
Lucky, and attentive. I don't F around when I'm running tools, and most especially when I'm operating the table saw. I've seen thumbs go flying and more than once seen the tips of 2 or more fingers get eaten.
Is this gross? Is this freaking you out ? Good !
Be Careful! You only have one body, unless you're a conjoined twin, in which case you still really only have one that it mostly yours. Take care of it. Don't take chances, if you don't know exactly how a tool works, ask someone who does. No one knows everything, < well I try> < don't tell anybody I said that> It's not worth the pain, and loss just cause your afraid of losing face. Who knows you might actually lose a face.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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Thanks for the reminder, Hey Van how about starting a Carp Safety entry for the Wiki. Do's and Don'ts for operating common shop equipment safely. Another great one would be on shop tool maintenance... but safety is far more important.

#### Van

##### CBMod
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After I finish the wood products entries, I think I'd like to try that. I'l put it on my list of "Things to do in my Copious Spare Time"

< Actually, I will try that>

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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I would be happy to help out but I know you've cut a few million more board feet than I have so I'm not the one to take the lead on this one.

#### What Rigger?

##### I'm so fly....I Neverland.
We've these at our shops. Needless to say, my employer has deep pockets, but this device is f-ing unbelievable!
http://sawstop.com/

#### Chaos is Born

##### Active Member
We've these at our shops. Needless to say, my employer has deep pockets, but this device is f-ing unbelievable!
http://sawstop.com/
Have you ever had a situation where it saved someone?

#### Chaos is Born

##### Active Member
I watched that too, i'm just amazed at the responce time it has.

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
CB Mods
We had an incident last season in our shop during the build for the last show of the season. The saddest thing is, that the person who lost part of a finger to the saw was a good carp, and didn't fool around, and has been doing it for many years. I didn't see what happened, and luckily we have an EMT on our staff and work on a university campus that has a top notch hospital. Needless to say, we lost this carpenter as she found it very hard to come back to the shop.

I have also seen a friend put a pneumatic T-nail through a their hand and have to be carted away in an ambulance. I have also seen people almost get t-nails in the face when they were using a metal ruler as a guide while lidding flats. They mistakenly tried to put a nail through the ruler and the nail made a u-turn and headed for the sky.

It just goes to show you that it isn't just the big tools that are dangerous. You can do plenty of damage with hand tools or pneumatic tools or a screw gun.

I am sure we all have seen our share of bad things happen, and probably have had plenty happen to us. So be careful, don't defeat safety systems, and pay attention to what you are doing. Your hands and your eyes are your livelihood in this business, keep them safe.

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
I have (as well as 2 other people I have worked with in 2 different shops) put a wide crown staple through my finger. Luckly for me, the crow pulled through the skin and I did not hit any bone. All of the new senco wide crow guns are shipped with "speed" triggers, or single action triggers. Basicly, this means that you can hold in the trigger and just hit the safety of the gun and it will fire the next staple. Great for roofing a house, bad for putting lids on decks. These things will double fire and jump, and if your finger is in the way your finger is gettting a staple in it. If you call senco, they will over night a dual action trigger that requires you to pull the gun up, let go of the trigger, put the gun back down, then pull the trigger to fire. This stops the double firing and makes for a much safer stapler. Most senco dealers will switch out the trigger free of charge when you buy the gun.

#### Charc

##### Well-Known Member
Is this product worth bringing up with my TD? It doesn't seem that much more expensive than a regular table saw, and given the benefits of safety, and access controls it seems worth it. As a general rule, students are not allowed to use the table saw in our scene shop. Which is good, I don't want to use our table saw, it's ANCIENT, and not exactly the safest thing in the world. Now, this doesn't mean that exceptions aren't made. Or, what often happens, is a student will be supporting the wood coming through. Many don't realize they shouldn't be pulling the ply they're ripping... so it's also a safety thing for our instructors. Being that this table saw is in the middle of, what is essentially a classroom environment, it only makes sense that safety be paramount. Where there's a will there's a way, and if a student wants to use a piece of equipment badly enough, they'll find away to do so. (For instance, chop saw key, hidden in the handle. But I can use / have been trained on it anyways... and it doesn't seem that dangerous...)

Anyone have thoughts on power tools, specifically table saws in a school environment? I know I read somewhere, maybe here, that some school's scene shop has a security camera in it... just to make sure kids don't use the table saw...

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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Wow that is an AMAZING SAW!! I'm going to look seriously into getting one. It's not that much more than the big Delta I was looking at... the added safety is amazing.

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Is this product worth bringing up with my TD? It doesn't seem that much more expensive than a regular table saw, and given the benefits of safety, and access controls it seems worth it. As a general rule, students are not allowed to use the table saw in our scene shop. Which is good, I don't want to use our table saw, it's ANCIENT, and not exactly the safest thing in the world. Now, this doesn't mean that exceptions aren't made. Or, what often happens, is a student will be supporting the wood coming through. Many don't realize they shouldn't be pulling the ply they're ripping... so it's also a safety thing for our instructors. Being that this table saw is in the middle of, what is essentially a classroom environment, it only makes sense that safety be paramount. Where there's a will there's a way, and if a student wants to use a piece of equipment badly enough, they'll find away to do so. (For instance, chop saw key, hidden in the handle. But I can use / have been trained on it anyways... and it doesn't seem that dangerous...)
Anyone have thoughts on power tools, specifically table saws in a school environment? I know I read somewhere, maybe here, that some school's scene shop has a security camera in it... just to make sure kids don't use the table saw...
I am not crazy about the "its unsafe so our students cant use it thing", when its a standard piece of equiptment. Is the saw actually unsafe (bad fence, bad blade, crappy motor...) or is it just the standard amount of hazards around the table saw. I think that everyone who works in/near a shop should be properly trained on everything, even if they do not intend to use it, simply so they can watch out for others. Do you have shop class at your high school, and if you do can those students use all the power tools there? You might also want to suggest getting a panel saw for your shop. They are extremely safe and very easy to use if they are properly set up.

#### Charc

##### Well-Known Member
I am not crazy about the "its unsafe so our students cant use it thing", when its a standard piece of equiptment. Is the saw actually unsafe (bad fence, bad blade, crappy motor...) or is it just the standard amount of hazards around the table saw. I think that everyone who works in/near a shop should be properly trained on everything, even if they do not intend to use it, simply so they can watch out for others. Do you have shop class at your high school, and if you do can those students use all the power tools there? You might also want to suggest getting a panel saw for your shop. They are extremely safe and very easy to use if they are properly set up.
Shop class is a lower/middle school thing. The one power tool we can't use: table saw...

#### Van

##### CBMod
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Shop class is a lower/middle school thing. The one power tool we can't use: table saw...
That's sad. It understand from a money/liability standpoint, but it also really irks me from a TD wanting well trained carps stanpoint. Like I said in my original post, I've been doing this for 25+ years and still have all my fingers and toes. Yes I've been lucky, but at the same time I was trained well, and follow the rules / know my limitations and the limitations of the tools. Accidents, IMHO, are more likely to happen when you don't teach kids the proper tool operation, then that emergency happens and Timmy just has to rip a 2x12 on the contractor saw, an winds up getting it bound up and rammed into his chest.
< which reminds me of a story>
In college all the students in the theatre dept. were required to attend shop hours. We had a couple of Musical theatre types who were working together, they were a couple. he was ripping 1x4 on the table saw and she was receiveing. Well she got distracted by something, and let the board bind up a bit, it kicked back and caught him on the left side of his pelvis, missed all the "Vital" organs in the area but apparently bruised the entire area quite well. They were getting married the next week, on spring break. We all assumed the Honeymoon was going to be a much less active one then they had originally planned.

#### Jervas

##### Member
Yes I've been lucky, but at the same time I was trained well,
I think you've hit the nail right on the head here (pardon the pun) Van. It's ALL about good training. I'm my lo tech world were you are often relying on Cast and Voulenteers to get co-op shows on the ammount of near misses and non misses resulting in ambulance rides I have seen would curdle your coffee. The amount of time I have spent, teaching, showing and supervising people on power tools couldn't be counted. Every second WELL SPENT if it avoids what happened to my stepbrother. - Cutting a piece of PVC pipe for a set, with the knife slip line directly towards his thigh. Knife slipped - gashed his thigh and lacerated the primary artery. Thank any God you believe in that it wasn't cut completely through and LUCKILY he wasn't working alone like the day before! I could never get it in his head to think several steps ahead. And he's a trained technical studies teacher! He's still around, thankfully.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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Well I went to my local SawStop dealer today for a test drive. They didn't set off the safety device as that destroys a $90 break mechanism when you do it. It is one amazing machine. First off it looks like the saw Batman would use. Everything about it seems amazingly well engineered. The trunnion system, the belts it's all way better design than your typical professional cabinet saw. A review I found on the internet said it makes the Powermatic and Delta saws look like cheap products... and the guy is right. The dealer balanced a nickel on it's edge and turned the saw on. Thing starts and runs so smooth that nickel didn't budge. There's almost no vibration. The fence system looks and feels a lot like a Biesemeyer... heavy duty construction but glides smooth and sweet. You can make a cut as small as 6/16" with the blade guard still on. I'm VERY impressed. It would be worth putting at the top of your shopping list without it's incredible safety system. A local school district here just replaced all their saws with these bad boys. Price you ask? A basic 3 H.P. model with fence, 52" table, a spare standard break unit, a dado blade break unit, and a zero clearance dado insert (it comes with a zero clearnce 10" blade insert), plus shipping to the west coast is about$3800+tax midwest and east coast shipping will be a little more. Add $300 for a 5 h.p. motor or$600 for a 7 h.p. motor. Yeah it's about \$1500 more than a similar Delta... but it looks and feels far superior in construction and my fingers are worth it.

If you haven't done it yet go to www.sawstop.com and watch the "hotdog video". You'll want one to.

#### SweetBennyFenton

##### Active Member
Sorry... late to the discussion.

I am personally training all of my students on the proper use of all major tools in my shop. This is what was done for me when I was young, and I still have all my fingers.

Oh, and who lost a finger? Anyone I know?

#### Van

##### CBMod
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Sorry... late to the discussion...............................
Oh, and who lost a finger? Anyone I know?
Not Marchant, but another Jeff in the shop, new carp over there this season. You know which shop to which I am refering.
Whioch sort of brings up one of my points. Even with proper training, and due diligence on the part of staff and management, Accidents still happen. This shop across town is a good shop, run by a good freind of mine, but still accidents happen.

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