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