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Author Topic: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone  (Read 57782 times)

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toolaa

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Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« on: April 13, 2006, 11:13:51 pm »
It's Been a while since posting a message to the board.  I have been working hard growing my new countertop business.  After a few rough months in the beginning we have had three consecutive excellent months.  Next week we were going to begin tooling up to make Granite tops.  I have been building a loyal team and working hard to focus on safety and efficiency.  By all accounts things were going as planned.

Well yesterday I was cutting a radius slot using a template bit.  I was about 2" into the cut when I could smell the wood burning somewhat.  I had taken my left hand off the router to re-adjust me positron to back ff the cut.  I am not exactly sure what occurred next.  I believe I must have slightly tilted the router causing it to jump right out of the cutting slot, on top of the work piece.  The spinning blade had some traction along the top of the wood and skidded from right to left and crashed into my left hand. 

I kept my cool but it was tough.  I could see that me pointer finger was almost severed, and blood was squirting out like a scene in a bad "B" movie.  I and one of me employees had just taken First aid and CPR training last month as conditions to bid on a govt project.  That training kicked in! 
Almost instinctively we knew what to do. 

I was flown to the Hand trauma center in Baltimore where at first things looked good.  I had blood flow to my finger and could still feel the tips.  I was told that I would need 4hr surgery.

When I awoke the doctor informed me that when they began to operate they discovered that the bone in my finger was shattered into at least 20 small pieces.  There was no way to save it!  I will have a cast with bone pins to secure my middle finger for 6 weeks.  Then I can look forward to 3-5 months of painful physical therapy.  I will get through this however.

Last night I began to reflect on what happened and I am the kind of person that believes that most if not all accidents can be prevented.  I was really embarrassed that I'm the guy who gets mad when I see someone not wearing safety glasses, or taking the guard off a saw, and here
I just set a lasting and costly example carelessness.

This post is a reminder to anyone who works with power tools how easy it is to get complacent and forget how dangerous these tools and operations can be.

In the end the contributing factors to my accident where:
1) Using a blade which was not sharp
2) Rushing to make a cut because someone else did not follow the plan properly.  I was angry about the oversight before I picked up the router.
3) Never take a hand from the router while the bit is in the work piece.

If this post can help keep someone else from having an accident, I'll feel good that someone can learn from my mistake.

Best Regards,


John
« Last Edit: April 13, 2006, 11:18:50 pm by toolaa »
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2006, 11:28:49 pm »
Sorry to hear about that man.  My prayers will be with you and I hope that everything will be okay.  Thanks for the heads up and it is good to get a reminder once in awhile, as it is far to easy to become complacent in this hobby.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2006, 11:37:21 pm »


ouch! and kudos to you for admitting that you ballsed up. a lot of people never accept that they stuffed up. get well soon and just be thankful it wasn't your 'fire' button finger (",)


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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2006, 11:41:25 pm »
I hope for a speedy recovery for you

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2006, 12:21:39 am »
Holy crap that's a lot of typing less a hand there.  I've always been afraid of doing something like that.  I've had incidents similar but never an actual accident.  Good luck on the healing.  I hope your finger recovers well.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2006, 01:04:03 am »
Get well soon, I hope the recovery is as quick and painless as possible.  It's a shame to get reminders to be safe in this manner, but I will definitely think twice about safety the next time I grab a power tool.

Get better soon.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2006, 01:49:45 am »
Man, I'm really sorry to hear that.   I try to be safe but frequently end up rushing through things and not putting on my goggles and things like that.  It's stupid of me.  I know it doesn't take but a split second for something to go wrong....

Good luck with your recovery.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2006, 02:56:16 am »
Heres to a speedy recovery.


Quote
I try to be safe but frequently end up rushing through things and not putting on my goggles and things like that

I used to be the same until I had a dremel disc come apart on me once sending fragments flying into my face, they were that hot one of them actually stuck to my lip and left a blister for 2 weeks. Fortunately I had my put my safety glasses on 30 seconds before, now I wear them permanently when I'm working with power tools.

toolaa

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2006, 08:13:53 am »
Holy crap that's a lot of typing less a hand there.  I've always been afraid of doing something like that.  I've had incidents similar but never an actual accident.  Good luck on the healing.  I hope your finger recovers well.

I am Right Handed, so actually, my Left hand does most of the key strokes.  Right hand usually works the mouse.  I would say typing Right Handed only takes 3x than normal. 

The surgeon explained that if you are going to loose a finger, the pointer is the preferred one.  Apparently, the three other fingers contribute more to your grip.

The only question I have is which finger is now to be used as my middle finger, in the event I need to use it when someone cuts me off while driving...

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2006, 08:28:04 am »
Man, I am real sorry to hear about this. There is no doubt you will be in for a tough ride over the next 12 months.

Our bodies are good at repairing themselves, its the mind you need to worry about. Stay as positive as possible and keep your head active and you will get through the rough times ahead.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2006, 02:10:33 pm »
Don't know if this will help at all, but a guy used to come into the store I worked at when I was younger, and he lost his index finger on his left hand.  Rather than taking it off at one of the knuckles, they actually removed the entire finger at the joint.  If you can imagine, his middle finger effectively became his new index finger.  You wouldn't even notice unless you were really paying attention, and hell, it made a good story ;)

In all seriousness though, I hope your recovery goes well!

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2006, 10:01:30 pm »
toolaa: thanks for the safety reminder before I start building my cab!

I'm a motorcycle rider also and I always look at the sometimes gruesome accident scene photos whenever I come across them.  I'm not a morbid person, however, it helps to constantly remind myself of the dangers of such a sport so that I hopefully never become complacent in my riding.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2006, 10:50:53 pm »
When my brother-in-law was 17 he was making bombs from used CO2 cartridges.  Filling them with black powder and sticking a fuse into them.

He had been experimenting with just *how* short a fuse he could get when one exploded in his hand.  My wife describes it as she thought he had crushed a tomato in his hand when he was running up the driveway, before she knew what it was.

They were going to amputate his whole hand, but he was adamant: they weren't going to take his hand without trying damn hard to save it.

The doctors pretty much had to rebuild his hand from scratch, but they did it.  He's only missing the first two knuckles from his ring finger.  They had to recreate the web between the index and thumb with a balloon (stretching the skin).

He healed nicely; he's got scars, but if you don't look for them, likely you won't notice what happened.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2006, 11:16:23 pm »
Wow, that sucks.  Sorry to hear about it.

On the bright side, my dad is missing the same finger.  It doesn't slow him down a bit.

Hope you have a speedy recovery!

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2006, 11:28:26 pm »
they actually removed the entire finger at the joint.  If you can imagine, his middle finger effectively became his new index finger.

Thats exactly the same thing they have done to me.   The doc said that after a year mr other fingers will get stronger to pick p the slack.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2006, 11:32:10 pm »
On the bright side, my dad is missing the same finger.  It doesn't slow him down a bit.

Docs told me that each year about 9000 Americans loose some part of a finger in accidents.  They also said that commercial snowball ice makers cause more amputations than saws.  Go figure.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2006, 11:45:37 pm »
 :'(   WOW! Glad you are okay toola! I had my prayer group pray for you.

It is easy to get complacent when using the same tools everyday. This was an important reminder that tools always follow the laws of physics. I remember when I was a yout...weed eaters had just started getting popular...I learned the hard way not to mess with the string without unplugging it. Ugly 6" scar up my arm to remind me. I also learned to respect electricity when I was zapped by 440 volts. These lessons will be passed to my children without the harmful effects I had to suffer.

Thanks for the reminder toola...and the good attitude.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2006, 11:46:04 pm »
Get well soon  toolaa. I have worked in the rehabilitation field for about 12 years and I can tell from experience that you have the right attitude and you will be back to your business in no time. Just remember to stay focused and leave the past behind you.
You are in my thoughts.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2006, 12:54:03 am »
Sorry to hear about your accident. I know that I for one will think twice before taking my other hand off the router. It pays to always have a little fear about these things. Wish you the best in a speedy recovery.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2006, 02:51:06 am »
I have this sick feeling, sort of like a knot in the pit of my stomach, just reading this, however I think this is an important reminder to everyone here. It's just frightening to be told how quickly an accident like that can happen. Anyway I wish you a speedy recovery and to hopefully ease your mind a bit I would add that my uncle lost his right-hand index finger below the knuckle while working for the railroad in New Mexico, and I have never met a handier guy. He is constantly building things, working on cars, hunting, fishing and even makes his own fly-fishing lures. Hang in there brother
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2006, 09:54:43 am »
I find most accidents usually happen to me when I'm impatient and in a rush. I got a couple of nice scars to remind me of this.

Now, when I feel that way, I stop working period

Here's to a speedy recovery.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2006, 10:05:05 am »
Hey you guys are awesome.   It's nice to wake up and read your messages of support.  I'm feeling more confident than ever.

Thanks a million!

 :applaud:    :applaud:    :applaud:
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2006, 11:43:46 am »
I think, in regards to the middle finger question, you still default to the standard middle finger, but use the "other fingers completely behind the palm and held down by the thumb" technique practiced earlier in life rather than the "other fingers bent at the knuckle thumb extended" version that most of us tend to practice later in life.

Good luck, speedy recovery.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2006, 02:46:04 pm »
Toolaa, I am one of the guys that can say " I feel your pain" I got my right hand caught in a printing press running @ 8000 rpm. The press kept the top half of my index, middle and ring fingers. The therapy is not that bad. I did it for about 8 weeks. Just wait til the finger you lost starts itching. It's the phantom itch that gets ya!

Take care.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2006, 09:45:40 pm »
I have limited movement of the little finger on my right hand after a motorcycle accident. I can't for example make a fist or close my hand properly, the little finger just don't move. It makes it very difficult to grip anything because much of the strength comes from this part of the hand.

Having said this there is not much that I can't do, I don't do things in the traditional manner but I have learned to manipulate the rest of my hand to make up for any shortcomings. It has taken over 2 years but finally the movements are starting to become automated.

It can be frustrating but it just takes time for the brain to adapt.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2006, 02:35:18 am »
This is a good notice to everyone here.  A lot of the tools we use in this hobby are bloody dangerous (sorry about the pun!).  I think sometimes people don't really think they can be seriously hurt.  Routers spin so fast that there is no time to react if something goes wrong.  Even something as simple as not securing the bit well enough can have horrible consequences.  Your post hopefully will remind everyone of this.  At least you lost something you have a few extras of :)

As for safety glasses, you guys go out and buy more than one pair and leave them where you work.  I know how easy it is to not want to bother hunting for them, so if you have lots, chances are one is within arm's reach.  It's horrible to lose a finger, but an eye or two could be devastating.

Speedy recovery.   :cheers:  Hopefully the business doesn't suffer while you recuperate!
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2006, 03:36:45 am »
YIPES! 

I've done dumb ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- like that and been lucky enough to have escaped mostly unharmed.  But my router scares me most of all.  I always sit there and wait until the thing stops spinning and usually unplug it right away...just in case...

No question though...it's always good to have reminders, and I personally thank you for your reminder.

Best of luck to you in your recovery!

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2006, 03:55:07 am »
At my old job in the circuit board factory, one of our ex-employees managed to cut a third of his finger off on a sheet metal guillotine.

Despite the fact that no one has ever injured themselves on it since it was installed, we came to the conclusion he was a dumbass. This theory was confirmed when he got a job at another factory and managed to cut off another finger on a similar guillotine.  ::)
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2006, 12:11:59 am »
get well soon. i hope recovery is quick and relatively painless.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2006, 02:22:40 am »
Hope you get well, just keep at it and you'll be fine. I got my hand blown up by an airbag when I was about 15, had my index finger and middle finger knuckles going trhough the palm of my hand, and my ring finger was snapped off and the bone was going through the skin. A good while of surgery later, I came out OK. Just gotta sit through that physical therapy. Even though sometimes I wanted to punch the lady, she knew what the hell she was doing and I believe that the PT along with keeping a positive attitude towards getting better made a world of difference. I have lost a bit of mobility, and have arthritis already at age 19, but its all gooooood. It also gave me a chance to practice with the other hand... HA.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2006, 11:31:31 am »
The only question I have is which finger is now to be used as my middle finger, in the event I need to use it when someone cuts me off while driving...
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Well, you name may not be Steve, but one of my son's "GOTH" friends wears one of these Gauntlet Fingers...can you imagine someone flashing you this "bird" while going down the highway... >:D

And, watch out for the suggestions you get here....you probably get "you could get a replacement translucent finger, and put a super-bright LED in it, and could probably wire it up as a light gun / rotary stick.....   :laugh2:

Seriously though, good luck, and I hope you get better soon.  :cheers:


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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2006, 11:46:29 am »
Best wishes and here's hoping for a speedy recovery!

There's got to be some Mame games out there that you can play with one hand....

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2006, 12:19:50 pm »
I have this sick feeling, sort of like a knot in the pit of my stomach, just reading this

I do too. Weird. I think it's because as I read I also "see it" in my head.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2006, 01:33:04 pm »
It's the beginning of the home improvement season, thanks for reminding us how quickly and easily these things can happen.

Good luck with your recovery.

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2006, 01:33:12 am »
Im glad you cool about this.  I think we should get you a custom joystick in its place.  So are you a bat or ball guy.  I know how machines are.  Im the guy in metal shop with long hair.  My teacher is always telling me to pull it back and I wont but I know to be carfull.  I work on the lathes a lot and if my hair is even close to the metal I have the machine off.  Its getting longer now so im going to be putting it back soon.  Well I hope you recover soon.  Im not sure what your going to do about middle punchs tho.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2006, 04:07:33 am »


before i read this thread i had just told my housemate that if i were ever to sever a finger in an accident it could be fatal for me. for anyone else, including you you'd be fine. but i have a rather unfortunate tendancy to faint when i lose more than a small amount of blood in an accident. i nearly fainted when i had to give TWO samples of blood for a diabetes survey! so  in your place, i would cut the finger, faint and then slowly bleed to death!  :-[


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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2006, 08:34:22 pm »
Best wishes for a speedy recovery
I've had my share of stitches and such but man that had to hurt.
Most fo the accidents I've had were from being careless or in a hurry so slow down and take a break is what I would suggest.
Maybe this will keep someone from doing the same.
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2006, 04:58:08 pm »
I hope for a speedy recovery for you :P
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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2006, 07:39:41 pm »
wow that's rough.....and I too wish you a speedy recovery.

I've done plenty of things that could (and perhaps should) have resulted in injury...but I've been lucky so far.

But a reminder of the danger of these tools is always helpful.

Best wishes for your recovery.  :cheers:
Seriously. Will it fit in my basement or what?

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Re: Accident At Work - Lesson to Everyone
« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2006, 03:42:10 pm »
Hey I just wanted to let everyone know that I have been doing well.  I went back to work last Tuesday and had a big shop safety meeting.  It sucks that it takes an accident to get people motivated about safety.  My team seems committed to making improvements in the shop and changing some of there own bad habits.  It's strange, but my staff members with the most experience seem to be more resistant than the rookies.

I had one guy who chose not to come back to work because he was too freaked out.  Other than that I've been real surprised with the wonderfull support from my employees, friends and family. 

Thanks for making this a sticky too... whoever thought it was appropriate.

So far the things i cant do while my hand is in a cast:

1) Tie my shoes
2) Shave
3) Button tight pants
4) Clap my hands
5) Play any arcade game requiring two hands.


So in the scheme of things it could be worse.

Later,

John
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