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A 15-year-old student amputates fingers while operating an unguarded table saw in woodworking class - Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Department of Health
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03MA1NF, 2003 Oct; :1-5
In 2003, a 15-year-old student amputated one left finger (both joints) and amputated a portion of another left finger and thumb while operating an unguarded table saw in a woodworking class. The student, while making a lengthwise cut (ripping), reached around (left-hand) to the back side of the unguarded saw blade to grab the piece of wood that was being cut. The student's fingers and thumb (left-hand) came in contact with the rotating saw blade, resulting in the serious injuries. The injured student was brought to the hallway and the school nurse was called for assistance. In addition, a call was placed to the local police department for emergency medical help. The injured student was transported to a local hospital and under went surgery for the injuries. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, schools that have woodworking shops with have table saws should: 1. Ensure that the manufacturers' supplied guards are installed on all table saws, and that the guards function properly and are used at all times. 2. Provide woodworking class conditions that at a minimum meet occupational safety and health standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and train students about these standards. 3. Position tables at the backside of table saws to prevent the work pieces from falling off the saws and onto the floor. 4. Design the woodworking shop layout to reduce distractions to equipment operators.
Region-1; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Training; Machine-guarding; Education; Woodworking; Woodworkers; Woodworking-equipment
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-03MA1NF; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division