Most Dangerous Power Tool?

Bart Leetch

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Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island
I'd say the newest tool you own, as you may not know how exactly it operates.

Still the operator.

Lets just quit blaming the tools. With out man there would be no tools to get hurt on & with out man the tools that exist would just sit there & gather dust.

You the operator are the one at fault here every time. NOT THE TOOL. You are what is dangerous. Lets face it without you the operator there is no one to get hurt.

Most of you that have been in the military know what head space means I am sure at least the ones that carried a weapon do.

It appears that we have a head space problem here.

It is not the tool at fault here. It is the operator & their head space.

I personally will never accept another answer to the problem.

Because I know from experience more than once.

A properly set up tool with guards push pads feather boards sharp tooling & proper selection of material will & proper attention to what is going on as the machining is being performed (properly calibrated head space) will most likely eliminate almost all danger of injury.


To find out if this it true just ask the person that got injured what he would do different that would protect him from injury doing the same operation the next time. I'll bet his head space has been working overtime he'll tell you exactly what he would do to stay safe next time.

The LOML said take up sewing & I said jab themselves with a needle. She said they even do it with a sewing machine.
 
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Travis Porter

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Wake Forest, NC
I tend to agree with you. It would be better to have a statistic that shows percentage of injuries to number of devices in service compared to total injuries.

Another thought on the most dangerous, is the tool that has inadequate or broken safety mechanisms. For your example, say using a jointer without any blade guard would freak me out.
 

Bart Leetch

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3,212
Location
Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island
I tend to agree with you. It would be better to have a statistic that shows percentage of injuries to number of devices in service compared to total injuries.

Another thought on the most dangerous, is the tool that has inadequate or broken safety mechanisms. For your example, say using a jointer without any blade guard would freak me out.

Here again is it the tools fault? NO. The operator is responsible to make sure that there are adequate safety mechanisms & the they are not broken & are completely serviceable. Lets face it safety is a function of the operators brain. The tool cannot think for its self.

Tools are not dangerous operators are dangerous to them selves when operating equipment. Tools setting turned off with no operator are not dangerous. There is not any most dangerous tool.

THERE IS A MOST DANGEROUS OPERATOR.
 

Frank Pellow

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2,332
Location
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
This is a quick note just to say hello to folks who may have made their way over here from the WoodNet forum.

I asked over there what they thought about the most dangerous power tools... and gave them a link to this thread so they could see what FamilyWoodworking thought

There are some good answers over there, but I wanted to point out this guy who really got creative... hilarious!!!
http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbth...e=&olderval=&oldertype=&bodyprev=#Post2889210
Thanks for the reference Garrett. I very much enjoyed reading the referenced post and agree that it is both creative and hilarious.
 

Travis Porter

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292
Location
Wake Forest, NC
No argument, actually total agreement. I am a very dangerous operator when it comes to chisels, screwdrivers, and hand tools. I am always nicking and cutting myself.

For the most part, I am safe and cognizant with the powered ones.
 

Chris Mire

Member
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947
Location
Southern Louisiana
bart,

please do not take this the wrong way, i hope i can say this right without offending you. the point of this conversation was to see what people felt was the most dangerous power tool in their opinion, based on their knowledge and experience. you are very accurate in stating that the operator is the problem, whether it be because of lack of concentration, misaligned tools, badly maintenanced tools or whatever. BUT, if you take one single operator and place him at 15 various brand new power tools, one of those power tools can be considered by that operator to be the most dangerous tool. whether it be the shaper, tablesaw, miter saw or whatever. so while i agree with you that the operator can be the weak link, that doesn't take away the fact that any given power tool can be considered the most dangerous to that operator.

thanks
chris
 

Bart Leetch

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Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island
bart,

BUT, if you take one single operator and place him at 15 various brand new power tools, one of those power tools can be considered by that operator to be the most dangerous tool. whether it be the shaper, table-saw, miter saw or whatever. so while i agree with you that the operator can be the weak link, that doesn't take away the fact that any given power tool can be considered the most dangerous to that operator.

thanks
chris


Ok lets take a different tack here.

I don't particularly like a circular saw. I was scared of them for years. I hadn't used one very much & I still don't accept to cut sheet goods down to size & the occasional 2x so they are easier to handle.

Am I still scared of them no. But I do respect them. I would have called them the most dangerous tool in the shop years ago by the definition that is being tagged on tools in these type of posts but I have learned how to operate one safely. I have learned that a tool is only as dangerous as its operator. To use an old saying that can open a can of worms.

"Guns don't shoot people people do."

I have seen guys that are scared to death of RAS's that shoot guns all the time & I have seen guys that use a RAS that won't shoot guns for the same reason. Its not that the tool is the most dangerous its that the person doesn't feel safe with it. Whether it is Lack of experience or lack of teaching or not being familiar with the safety protocols for the tool. ETC. It still comes back to the person.

Two people operate the same machine one feels safe using it the other doesn't has the tool changed? NO the operator did. What I am saying Chris is get right down to the root of the problem. Why does the person feel unsafe running the tool? Yes I have felt unsafe running a tool & I know why. It wasn't the tool. It was me. Something I didn't do or pay attention to. The machine will only do what you direct it to do or misdirect it to do.

As long as the tool is properly set up all safeties in place the wood checks out no reaction wood. It will always be the human equation. Take away the human there is no problem that tool will set there perfectly safe all fat dumb & happy for centuries.


Yes your right the person will have to make the decision is the tool the most dangerous tool the way they plan to operate it. Or what can they do to make it just as safe to operate as any other tool that they they consider really safe to operate.


It comes right back to the operator. Why do they feel that this tool is the most dangerous tool in the shop?


There has to be a reason. DON'T JUST TAG A TOOL THE MOST DANGEROUS TOOL IN THE SHOP. A tool is not dangerous all by its self this involves a human being.

Without a human there would be no tools. Without the combination of the human & tool there would be no unsafe feeling.(Remember tools don't have feelings) Hence the feeling that a certain tool is the most dangerous. Don't let your human hand turn it on it isn't dangerous. Its your human interaction & feelings that either make the tool safe or dangerous. No human interaction no feeling of danger.


Your heart rate will increase just watching someone jump out of a plane with a parachute. Now jump out of the plane with the parachute your self. See the difference?
Having never jumped before how safe did you feel? Its not near as easy as receiving instruction standing on the ground on how to safely operate a wood working machine. You have to put your life on the line & trust the parachute.

Its still the human equation. Is one properly packed parachute just as safe as another properly packed parachute? Probably How about 2 different machines properly set up with proper guards properly operated. Most likely wouldn't you say. Don'tcha think maybe it could just be the human that is the problem?
 
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Chris Mire

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947
Location
Southern Louisiana
bart,

i agreed that the human is the problem. no disagreement there. my point only was, to each and every person who has ever worked with power tools, they will consider one of those tools to be the most dangerous tool in their shop. so, let me make sure i understand what you are saying. given your experience, your familiarity with your own tools. can you not tell me,that tool X is the most dangerous tool in your shop. i think that was what this post was originally about. i can tell you that the most dangerous tool i have ever used was a shaper, why? because i was less comfortable with it and that huge raised panel bit scared me. does that mean that i can't say a shaper is an unsafe tool just because i didn't feel comfortable and it was me that caused it to be unsafe....no it doesn't....to me, that means the shaper is the most dangerous power tool in the shop i was in at the time.

again, i'm not combatting your point. just adding that just because you say it's the human's fault, doesn't make the tool safer.

hope that makes sense

thanks
chris
 

Bart Leetch

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3,212
Location
Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island
I changed my mind I guess I am allowed to do that.

"I can tell you that the most dangerous tool I have ever used was a shaper, why? Because I was less comfortable with it and that huge raised panel bit scared me. Does that mean that I can't say a shaper is an unsafe tool just because I didn't feel comfortable and it was me that caused it to be unsafe....no it doesn't....to me, that means the shaper is the most dangerous power tool in the shop I was in at the time."

Chris

I'll use your example & try to explain my thoughts.

Why were you less comfortable with it you didn't make it unsafe? It was because of that huge raised panel bit. If I am correct it sounds like it wasn't your shop. But lets assume it is & the shaper is yours. What could you have done to make it safer & make you feel different about it? Some shop built guards & or a power feeder would have taken your hands completely away from that huge raised panel bit danger area. Then you wouldn't be using it for your example.

I have always found that when I wasn't comfortable with an operation I was more prone to make a mistake & get hurt. So I stop I think through the operation & do or make what ever it takes to make it safe.

I would have to say I AM the most dangerous thing in my shop when I don't think & analize what is going on I am the one with the brain. Yep your right the tool is dangerous but thats where yours & my brain comes in. We can be dangerous by using the tool that at this point in time is dangerous even the most dangerous tool in the shop or WE can correct the situation so the tool is no longer considered the most dangerous tool in the shop.

Its up to you & me. We can sit back & continue to say that is the most dangerous tool in the shop or we can do something about it.

Your right there is a most dangerous tool in the shop right now. But I am sure you'll correct that problem real soon. Your a real sharp guy.
 
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Chris Mire

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947
Location
Southern Louisiana
bart,

of course you can change your mind. but please don't think that was my intention.

no it wasn't my shop. it was a shop i used to work at. there was no guard, no feeder, just me, the panel, the cutter and the fence. i wouldn't say the way i was working was dangerous. i never ever put my hands anywhere near that cutter. contrary to what some people might say, i feel i am most alert when using the scariest tools, not to say it's better for them to be scary. but i am more careful and move slower the closer my hands get to a blade or cutter. i used to have no fear, i would rip boards 2" wide without a pushstick...but i don't any more, i was ignorant to the danger back then.

i agree with everything you said, we must be the ones who make our enviroment safer, because you can go out and buy a shaper just like i described, no guard, no feeder. and people use them like this all the time.

i am attempting to leave my guard on my new table saw as long as i can possibly stand it, hopefully that is a long time. if not it will only come off for shorts periods.

thanks for being understanding of my point and not taking offense to what i said. i think if we all remain civil we have tons to learn from each other.

thanks
chris
 

Tom Majewski

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2
Location
Berks Co, PA
This is starting to sound like the old saying that there are NO car "accidents", as each is caused by a bad or inattentive driver doing something he/she shouldn't. However there are accidents caused by things beyond anyone's control or reasonable expectations. To approach any tool with the thought that you have EVERY failure/accident incident covered is , well, we would never use the tool. You cant think about a clamp/holdown cracking, featherboard coming loose, tension in the wood, or metal fatigue in the bit. There were machine tools at work, professionally maintained, that because of the nature of their action and where they were used, the machinists refered to them (jokingly) as the widowmakers. Reminds me of the OSHA cowboy cartoon.

I had my fingertip removed by a tablesaw when I was 11, (couldn't wait for dad to get home) but 40 years later I don't fear it as much as other tools. I used a moulding head on a table saw once and THAT almost led to a premature short changing.:D Using a simple xacto blade cutting paper sent me to the hospital when the .005" tip cracked off and shot right into my eye. Of all the times I use safety glasses for everything around the shop, who would think you need some for cutting out a paper pattern. I shot a 3"nail through my hand, quite the sight, but didn't start throbbing till hours later. Fell off the house while roofing and only had 2 back surgerys from it. I guess the thing I would have done different was to have someone else do my roof. I do plenty of metalwork too, so I've had my share of burns, cuts, pinching fingers in the grinder. Cut my own firewood most times, and a chainsaw has been pretty safe for me, but I'm at ground level, not up in the air trimming a tree.
I've had more black and purple fingers than I can remember from hammer wacks. I had a couple kickbacks on the saw that missed me by a few mils....it's good to stand to the side. I used a wobble dado once and it gave me the chills. Just didn't feel comfortable. I like the chipper dado much better just because I don't feel it's going to fly off any second.

I've read stats somewhere where it stated that 40-some percent of home shop accidents are caused by a tablesaw. Not surprising since that's the first big cutting machine most people buy. I've been bit by most tools out there, but the ones I'm most apprehensive about are the shaper and jointer. Don't know why, just the meat eating ability of those tools I guess. BTW that shaper is a 1947 Montomery Ward made by Atlas that hasn't seen a guard or shield since my dad had bought it new to build his first house.

Someone here mentioned the CMS as a close second. I don't doubt the the fact, as there's many types of work habbits out there, but for me that has to be one of the safest tools I use. I have one hand gripping the wood, one hand gripping the handle, and neither hand moves till the operation is done.

Anyway, I thought I'd use up my first post status to say hi to everyone, and say that whenever we aim a sharp hard object at a softer object and strike, sometimes s**t happens, and most of the time it's minor thankfully. Whatever tool I use I like to turn it on thinking I'm more in control of the operation than not. If not I rethink the situation and try to think of an alternative.
I take a risk everytime I go into the shop. The alternative is becoming a couch potato, getting bored, going insane, and having an early heart attack.

Take care all,
Tom
 

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Messages
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Location
Tennessee
I just finished a piece of writing based on conversations in this forum and in WoodNet. It's not quite as long as Pellow's book, but getting there ;)

I wrote this in the interest of bringing attention to safety issues, and throughout I linked out to safety resources and maintenance guides, as you all often said that maintenance is a key to safety.

I'm posting here to let Tod know I quoted him - and you too Frank, the part about your son's experience with woodworkers in the emergency room.

Also I'd like to know from you guys any ways you see to make it stronger and more effective.

Thank you again for your help in this.

http://www.toolcrib.com/blog/2007/0...p-ten-most-dangerous-woodworking-power-tools/
 

Frank Fusco

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Location
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Garrett, I just scanned your write-up, very good and interesting. I stated my son's observations.
When I replied, I guess I left out my own concerns. Since the original question just asked for 'power tools', I'm limiting my response to what we would normally find in a wood working shop. This excludes things like chain saws, tractors, etc. Lotsa tools out there operated by "power".
My biggest fear in my shop is the table saw. Scariest dang thing ever wuz. Even unplugged with blade down, I swear, it's waiting to jump up and damage me. I'm super careful using it. After that.....:doh: ....uh, I guess....everything else. I crippled my left thumb at age 10 with a hammer. That's a tool that is "powered" by people power. :rolleyes:
 

Paul Downes

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960
Location
Westphalia, Michigan
Chainsaw would have to get my vote. I know of more fatalities miamings related to their use than any other power tool excepting vehicles. The only comment I would make regarding chainsaws is that every fatality that I know of was caused by operator error. The problem with their use is that most people don't have ready access to proper safety instruction. I have worked as a sawyer and heat with wood and whenever the subject comes up I seize the moment and give instruction solicited or otherwise. I spent a few min. today instructing a sales person who sells saws, on proper felling techniques. He told me that he has 5 scars on his thighs from getting lazy/tired while operating chiansaws! A good web site for learning about their proper use would be the forestry forum. Check out the saftey section.
 

tracy fowler

Member
Messages
1
I agree it is the operator of the tool that is the most dangerous, the one piece of equipment I consider the most dangerous is the band saw, and here is why, you have a four foot blade traveling at around 30 mph(est) and a single butt weld joint holding the blade in a circle, and unlike most would think the blade snaps at the table not going around the wheels, it then feeds that blade out at a high speed, turning any flesh around it to hamburger.

Tracy Fowler
 

Bill Simpson

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Messages
1,758
Bar none, I would consider the Radial Arm Saw as the most likely to cut you really bad machine. Look at it, the blade is dangling out there and you pull it right across your arm/hand. Most exposed blade than any device. I have been chomped by a jig saw, Band saw and a nick on Shaper, the lathe has had a try at my hide but the one that scares me the most is the RAS. I respect that flesh hungry monster.

Sure people do more harm than tool,, but like they keep trying to tell us "guns don't kill people . people kill people with guns." Same is true with machines back in '71 a dull bit kicked a board out and my fingers went in, chomp went the tips but a skilled surgeon sewed them back, in 73 a jig saw 's belt caught me off guard and broke 4 fingers but I survived, A student ('72) grabbed a long board that I was ripping and sent it back at me, broke a chip on my pelvic bone, bothers me still, but I fear the RAS the most. I got a nice one in the garage and I keep my self keened in on its duties at all times for that rascal will eat flesh in a heart beat. I use a chainsaw often and to the point where my back is killing me but I keep both hands on the saw and my mind on what I do. Only tool I think is as dangerous as the RAS is the Nail Gun. The framer will shoot at the least expected moment and is an accident waiting to happen. I have a nice one but I respect that sucker.
 
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Frank Fusco

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12,340
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Mountain Home, Arkansas
Well written post, Bill. We have all expressed our personal concerns. But your use of words is, indeed, sobering.
I heard a term the other day on a TV show about some big machines that is applicable to what we are discussing here. "unforgiving metal" Very true. The tool have no conscience or sympathy for what is in front of them.
 
Messages
1,505
Location
Austin, Texas
I have had a radial arm saw for over 30 years, and am on my third chain saw, and have a 16 inch jointer, and most of the other tools listed as "most dangerous." But I have been thinking about this thread as I worked in the shop the last few days, and want to nominate a new tool... the nozzle on a compressed air hose.

Sure, the big sharp tools can take off a finger (either in ground form or suitable for painful and expensive reattachment), but even without a finger, or several fingers, you can still lead an almost normal life.

Most of us have some form of dust collection, and perhaps an air filter, but way too many of us are quick to grab the air hose to clean something ... blasting all the dust into the air. I look at all the dust that collects on the dry surfaces of the shop, then think of the dust that must be collecting on the moist surfaces of my lungs as I pass air over them as I breathe. The dust in my lungs is more likely to shorten my life than a lost finger.

Therefore I nominate the air hose as the most dangerous power tool in my shop. :( Grim, huh?
 
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