Table Saw Accident Stories and Statistics

The statistics of saw accidents...

how and why they happen.


I thought I was being careful.... but

Veneer Kerf in Palm of the hand

Kerf was cut into the heel of the hand as the panel was pushed through the saw. The laceration was superficial.

Material: Melamine

"While pushing a piece of melamine board through the table saw yesterday with the blade at scoring height, I had my hand in the wrong spot when the trailing end went through. You guessed it - a perfect 1/8" kerf about 1-1/2" long in the heel of my hand.

Reaching across to retrieve cutoff piece

The tip thumb was cut off when contacting the blade. This was done during retrieval of the cutoff piece after finishing the cut. The end of the thumb was lost

Material: not specified

"anyway.. not paying attention, I reached for the cut off material and put my thumb right into the blade. Cut the tip off instantly."

Ripping small pieces. Thumb was run directly into the blade

The end of the thumb was cut into while finishing a cut. The tip of the thumb was lost.

Material: not specified

“I was ripping small strips without a guard. I was working late in the day, and obviously not totally alert. I ran my thumb straight into the blade, and now that thumb is noticeably shorter.”

The end of the thumb was cut into while finishing while reaching for the just ripped piece. Permanent damage to the knuckle and nerves.

The end of the thumb was cut into while finishing a cut. The tip of the thumb was lost.

Material: softwood, construction, 8'

“I was ripping 8 ft. 2 x 6's to use as supports for bush covers for in front of the house. I was in the shop alone as usual (I get home from work about 1 to 1-1/2 hours before the wife) and was observing the proper safety around the saw. (except that I had removed the guard a couple of days earlier - and was too lazy to put it back on just for these 9 boards!) I was using a feather board, push-stick, out feed table and turned the saw off after each cut before moving the ripped pieces. That was, at least, until the last board (a 2 x 8) that was going to need to go through again to make it the same as all the others. Here is where the stupidity comes in. I used the push-stick to clear out the keeper of the ripped board and without shutting off the saw reached for the part of the board that needed ripping again --- and you guessed it! Came into contact with the blade, splitting my thumb from the tip to the first knuckle sideways between the nail and "pad". At the hospital they asked me "on a scale of 1 to 10, could you rate the pain?" I said it was an 8 and on the "PO'd" scale I was at least a 12. (I know better than that - STUPID).Anyway, they were able to sew it back together and it looks as though it is going to heal on the outside at least. There is joint & nerve damage, but at least I will be able to keep and use my thumb”

Push block slips off piece, kickback causes finger to fall into blade?

While adjusting the push block to clear the blade during a cut it slipped allowing a kickback which hit the hand and caused two fingers to contact the blade. Lacerations and fracture to the fingers.

Material: not specified

"just making one quick cut, a narrow rip. Toward the end of the cut I noticed I was going to catch the push-block so I made a small, quick adjustment and in one big bang and one micro second it was all over. The board caught, kicked back and shot across the shop like a bullet just missing my friend. I look down and saw blood and a bit of a mess of my fingers. It was my thinking that the board had hit me and I guess it did but as I later found out I somehow had hit the blade as well. Still have my fingers but they don't look like they use to. Most of one nail gone with a good slice off the side of that finger, a large hole in the index fingernail also split and missing some parts which had to be dug out, a fractured bone and a hole in the end of that finger….. I have all the equipment to keep this from happening but didn't take the time to use it. It could have been so much worse that I feel quite thankful for what I have left and hope that it will cause me to not make a mistake like that again. I've cut thousands of board feet through my saws, hours and hours of time there. One microsecond of a mistake. Please, take the time to do it right or don't do it. There’s just to much to lose.”

Reached across blade while teaching a class

Cut thumb mostly off while teaching an ag class how to make a picnic table.

Material: treated pine; Blade : Rip

"I am an ag teacher in a high school. I was demonstrating for the students how to rip a board for a picnic table that they were building. I turned off the machine and the board that I successfully cut started to fall off the back side of the table. Before I thought about it, I reached over top of the saw and grabbed the falling wood. The blade was still rotating to a stop. I got the thumb on my left hand too close to the blade and it sucked in my finger. As I looked down at my hand, I realized that it was my thumb and it was holded completely in half. I flipped it over, made a fist over it and walked to the nurses office. I was tranported by ambulance 80 miles to a micro-orthopedic specialist. I was informed that I had an 89% amputation and that I cut through the entire nuckle, tendon, both blood vessels, all the nerves and had little chance of keeping it. The surgeon pinned it together and stitched it up. It has been 4 weeks now and it looks like I should be able to keep it, given I keep it healthy from infection."

Leaned over table and slipped into blade

Cut multiple fingers off

Material: laminate; Blade : General Purpose

"A piece of laminate got stuck after cut was completed.I leaned over saw table to look,and slipped on a combination of sawdust and plastic laminate (like ice).being tall I fell onto the tablesaw-sticking my rt. hand out just by reaction,hand hit running blade.index finger completely gone,long finger 1/2 gone,ring finger rebuilt with index finger."

Dragged Hand Across Blade

Lost fingers.

Material: Pine; Blade : Rip

"I was pushing a small piece of wood through my saw without a push stick. the piece kicked back and my hand went into the sawblade."

Hand Pulled Into Blade

Cut on hand.

Material: Pine; Blade : General Purpose

"Pushed 3/4" board through saw to take off 1". Finished cutting board, went to reach to the right side of the saw underneath to turn saw off. Not looking at the blade, inadvertently dragged left hand across running blade. Missed pinkie finger, ring finger in metal pin/splint, lost middle finger at the hand knuckle, artery/nerve damage at index finger, deep tissue damage on thumb. Several stitches later, still alive. Thank God I had someone to help within reach, otherwise would have bled to death. Left hand will never be the same. Accident happened only 5 days ago."

My Grandpa Cut His Thumb Off

Laid hand on blade.

Material: not specified; Blade : Rip

"my grandpa was cuttin 1*1s for a ceiling and layed his on the table saw and cut his thumb off but reattached"

Cut Thumb Off in Ag Class

Ran hand into blade.

Material: maple; Blade : Rip

"I was ripping 2x4 fours for table legs in Ag class and on the last cut my thumb came in contact with the blade. My thumb was cut at the knuckle and held on by 2cm. The blade caused too much damage to reattach it, so 27 stitches later I'm back using the saw."

Reached Across Blade to Retrieve Sliver

Cut Through Tendon in Thumb

Material: maple; Blade : General Purpose

I had just ripped a piece of maple to width for use as a shelf. I pushed the shelf through the saw and clear of the blade with no problem. However, the thin scrap hung along side of the blade (I think in the insert slot). Because I was concerned that the blade would catch it and throw it back towards me I reached over the blade to flick it clear. Some how my thumb touched the blade and was cut to the bone severing a tendon.

Usually Use Two Push Blocks

Lacerated Index Finger

Material: cherry; Blade : Rip

During ripping 6"X24"X1" rustic cherry stock into 2"X24"X1" with push block. Outside piece kicked back into my index finger and lacerated 1/4" of my finger tip. Push block secured the inside piece but outside piece wasn't secured. I even had two push blocks that I used all the time. This time I was too lazy to use, or forgot, or to tired to think.

Reached Across Blade

3 Fingers Sucked into Blade

Material: pine; Blade : General Purpose

My table saw was running and i was reaching for a piece of wood across the saw when my hand got too close to the blade and sucked 3 of my fingers in it. Half of my thumb was lost my index finger was unrepairable but the middle finger was.

I'm a Veteran Carpenter

Ran hand through blade

Material: pine; Blade : General Purpose

Lost end of thumb from nail up.

Cross cutting a large piece of cedar for trim - just a rough rough cut so no need to measure - reached across blade (stupid, stupid) for scrap while blade was still running - lost end of thumb from the nail up. Unbelievably dumb mistake - and yes, it really does hurt.

Left Safety off

Realigned blade did not put safety kickback on. three tips of fingers . tips of boon on ring and pointing finger. needed stitches on all. i never new how many times a day you bump your finger until this happened. wow.........................

Table saw on floor

accident happened for several reasons. one not using a table top saw on a table top but on the floor. two, tired. three, my son had taken the guard off. people take them off because they are awkward to use and sometimes create other hazards. I have a new idea for a guard that would be the width of the blade only thus eliminating the obstructed view issue and it would double as the splitter. what do you think?

Left the guard up

Cutting with the guard up, accidentally brushed my thumb against the blade before it had stopped turning. Deep irregular laceration to the pad of the thumb. Successfully reattached/grew back after about 9 months, but some scarring and nerve damage.

Looked away at my grandson

I was ripping a 10x6 piece of 3/4" cedar for a bird feeder project with my grandson. Near the end of the cut the piece shifted and pinched the blade. Although I was using a push stick, the work piece kicked back pushing the push stick out from under my hand. This caused my hand to rotate downward into the blade. The result was a deep cut to my right thumb near where it joins the hand, and a severed right index finger. Although the bone was severed at the middele joint, there still enough of the fleshy part of the dorsal side of the finger to still provide blood flow and a undamged nerve! Very lucky. Bottom line, even though I have been cutting wood since 1978 and had made thousands of cuts on my table saw, I took my eye off of the work piece to turn and look for my grandson. This inattention caused the accident. Lesson learded.

Dropped a piece of wood into blade

After I cut small piece of wood to hang glasses in a bar shelf. I was inspecting the wood when it felt from my hand. It hit the blade, that threw it in my face. I had to had 5 stitches in my nose and lost a upper front teeth.

So there I was, making a very unsafe cut. (As usual) but I've been a trim carpenter for 10+ years. I'm qualified to do things that look dangerous. Not. As it's very hard to explain what I was doing without gestures, I will say that the sound of my bones hitting the blade made a very different sound than wood. I grabbed my hand and stood there shocked. That did NOT just happen. @#*! It did... Three hours of emergency surgery later, I still had all of my digits. Though they don't operate the way they used to, I make 'em work for me. Pay attention to what you're doing! Your fingers have lots of nerves! And when you run your hand through a sawblade it hurts like hell.

Blade caught the tip of my finger

Laceration on right thumb while reaching for completed cut of birch plywood. Cut was 1/4 inch down on thumb, 80% cut through. Shattered tip of the bone.

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