NSW Ambulance paramedics warn of traumatic injury from power tools

A series of amputations and other serious injuries from the use of tools around the home has prompted an alert from NSW Ambulance paramedics.

Since July 1, paramedics have attended almost 50 cases of traumatic injury from tools including electric saws and angle grinders.

Injuries include a 32-year-old man who amputated a finger with a chainsaw at Edensor Park on Friday; a 51-year-old man who amputated two fingers with a circular saw at Rosedale in the state’s south on September 4; and a 70-year-old man who suffered a serious, accidental cut to the throat while using an angle grinder at North St Marys on August 24 (see list of incidents below).

NSW Ambulance Chief Inspector Brian Parsell said the path to home renovation is historically paved with good intentions that turn traumatic, with many injuries caused by inattention or rushing to get a job done.

He said people are best advised to leave difficult jobs to skilled tradespeople. If they must undertake the work, expert advice should be sought first, and the job carried out in the company of another.

“Never use tools that are beyond your level of knowledge, skill or strength; keep your body, especially fingers, away from blades; and disconnect the power before changing blades,” he advised.

Chief Insp Brian Parsell said that in the event of a serious incident, people should contact Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for Ambulance.

“Bystanders should turn off the power and remove the patient from danger. At the same time, stop any life-threatening haemorrhages,” he said.

“If there are severed digits or a limb, stop the bleeding first, call an ambulance, then attend to the missing body part.”

Chief Insp Parsell said severed limbs and digits should not be put directly on ice, as had occurred with several of the incidents outlined below.

“Put them in a secured plastic bag; put that bag in another bag and then put it in cool, tepid water or iced water. But don’t freeze it. If you freeze the tissue, you’ll kill it,” he said.

Further safety tips when using power tools include:

·         read and follow instructions in the user's manual;

·         use the safety guards supplied and use push sticks to guide timber while cutting;

·         don’t use tools for work they are not designed for;

·         never carry a tool by the cord or hose;

·         keep all people not involved with the work at a safe distance from the work area;

·         secure work with clamps or a vice, freeing both hands to operate the tool;

·         ensure that the work area is kept clean and tidy and dry to prevent accidental slips;

·         avoid accidental starting. Don’t hold fingers on switch button while carrying a plugged-in tool;

·         be sure to keep good footing and maintain balance;

·         ensure tools are well maintained and in good working order;

·         disconnect tools when not using them, before servicing and cleaning them, and when changing accessories such as blades, bits, and cutters; and

·         wear appropriate protective gear for the task. Loose clothing can become caught in moving parts.

Traumatic incidents from tools / power tools: July 1 – September 17, 2017


8/7                 Moree                                     3mo f                      Cut foot on electric saw

14/7               Warrumbungle                       69yo m                    Cut leg on chainsaw

10/8               Inverell                                    60yo m                    Cut thumb with grinder


10/7               St Ives                                     37yo m                    Angle grinder went through hand

11/7               North Sydney                          17yo f                      Serious injury to hand with power tool

12/7               Dural                                       28yo m                    Power saw hit patient in the leg

12/7               Warwick Farm                        30yo m                    Cut leg with a power saw

13/7               Cronulla                                   27yo m                    Cut tips off two fingers with a planer

15/7               Rosemeadow                          56yo m                    Cut hand with grinder

16/7               Mt Pritchard                            45yo m                    Finger injured with band saw

26/7               Gregory Hills                           18yo m                    Crushed finger with hand sander

29/7               St Clair                                    70yo m                    Amputated fingers with a saw

4/8                 Colyton                                    50yo m                    Partially amputated thumb with axe

4/8                 North Sydney                          58yo m                    Sliced hand on grinder

11/8               Collaroy                                   84yo m                    Finger amputated with grinder

12/8               Ashfield                                   40yo m                    Hit himself in the groin with a hammer

13/8               Colo Vale                                 73yo m                    Gashed arm with chainsaw

13/8               Pennant Hills                          65yo f                      Cut arm with chainsaw cutting tree

14/8               Lidcombe                                75yo m                    Cut top of thumb off with circular saw

21/8               North St Marys                       26yo m                    Accidentally shot in wrist with nail gun

22/8               Edgecliff                                  52yo m                    Cut finger off using power saw

24/8               North St Marys                       70yo m                    Serious injury to neck with angle grinder

2/9                 Sylvania                                   49yo m                    Serious injury to hand with circular saw

5/9                 Dural                                       35yo m                    Serious injury to hand with chisel

6/9                 Belfield                                   34yo m                    Cut hand with circular saw

8/9                 Castlereagh                             45yo m                    Cut arm with angle grinder

8/9                 Miranda                                  13yo m                    Cut off top of finger with saw

12/9               Wahroonga                             60yo m                    Cut hand with electric saw

15/9               Edensor Park                           32yo m                    Amputated finger with chainsaw

16/9               Ingleburn                                 38yo m                    Cut leg from knee to groin with circular saw


5/7                 Medowie                                 33yo m                    Chisel slipped and cut open thumb

13/7               Port Macquarie                       65yo m                    Cut hand on table saw

17/7               Moonee Beach                        40yo m                    Cut leg with chainsaw

20/7               Saratoga                                 32yo m                    Cut finger with circular saw

21/7               Cessnock                                 33yo m                    Chisel slipped and cut thumb

23/7               Mullumbimby                         65yo m                    Amputated finger with table saw

23/7               Argenton                                 30yo m                    Partially amputated finger with car wrench

3/8                 Wadalba                                 75yo m                    Amputated half finger with electrical saw

3/8                 Killarney Vale                          81yo m                    Hit in head with wood flung from lathe

9/8                 Salt Ash                                   86yo m                    Cut leg with grinder

18/8               Taree                                       55yo f                      Almost amputated finger cleaning blender

20/8               Windale                                  74yo m                    Serious cut to hand with circular saw

5/9                 Laurieton                                 35yo m                    Injury to arm with angle grinder


3/7                 Wolumla                                 24yo m                    Cut leg with power saw

8/8                 The Rock                                 51yo m                    Cut finger to bone with electric saw

10/8               Bendoura                                72yo m                    Partial amputation of hand with power saw

16/8               Cringila                                    50yo m                    Grinder wheel exploded, facial injuries

26/8               Bermagui                                52yo m                    Crushed finger with log splitter

4/9                 Rosedale                                 51yo m                    Amputated two fingers with circular saw

10/9               Lavington                                70yo m                    Cut arm open with angle grinder