A few weeks ago, Brent told me the story of his injury on the jointer. He also sent me pictures of the damage. I have seen injury photos in the past, but for some reason these had a profound affect on me. I think its partly due to the fact that a jointer injury is one of my worst nightmares! After giving it some though, I asked Brent if I could share his story in the hopes of preventing someone else from making the same mistake. And the more I thought about it, I started to realize that I needed to do something bigger with a much larger reach. And so Woodworker’s Safety Week was born.
Here is Brent’s story:
“I was in my garage and working on a project for a family member. I had worked all day at my job and decided to get some shop time in because this project was taking me forever to complete. The amount of time this was taking was way longer than I originally thought. I just finished gluing up some boards and should of called it quits for the night. I was exhausted and hungry. Instead of shutting the lights out and going inside I decided to use the jointer and flatten some boards for the next step. This would give me a head start for the next day. As I passed the boards over the jointer (not using a push block), I noticed I was getting a large amount of snipe. I don’t know what I was thinking or what I was not thinking due to being tired but I adjusted the out feed table. When I did this adjustment I lowered it a little too much. The next board I ran across started to bounce and I instinctively pushed the board down to control it. The board then shot out and my hand came down on the blades. This accident sent me to the emergency room. When I arrived they stuck a needle in my palm about seven times to numb it. I also received an IV and tetanus shot. I then had to hold my hand under running water for fifteen minutes. The surgeon then came in only to tell me they were shipping me to another hospital where a specialist could work on me. The plastic surgeon operated on me the next day. I received a skin graft from my arm to my palm that resulted in twelve staples and fifteen stitches. Lessons learned: 1) Don’t woodwork when you are hungry and tired. 2) Know your equipment and its correct operation. 3) Push sticks and safety equipment are less expensive than hospital bills (by far). 4) When you rush to meet a deadline it can cost you dearly. The photos are from the day the bandage, staples, and stitches were removed. This was about seven days after the accident. The one good thing I got from this accident was it taught me to respect the equipment and never work without the use of safety equipment. I am now recovering fine and have full use of my hand. I was very lucky it could have been a lot worse.”
WARNING!!! The photos below depict the results of a serious power tool injury.