Worker Killed When Saw Kicks Back

Worker Killed When Saw Kicks Back

I’m Dan Marcoux, Investigating Officer with
WorkSafeBC. Kickbacks from saws can be dangerous. Here it was deadly. This stripsaw cuts boards into smaller pieces.
Boards that have been planed are fairly uniform in thickness and have few defects. They feed
through the saw relatively easily. Unplaned or rough boards vary in thickness
and may have defects like knots or rot. To handle them, the stripsaw’s infeed rollers
are lowered so they can draw in the thinnest board to be processed. This can make it difficult
to feed thicker boards. A stripsaw operator was feeding unplaned boards
into the saw. The boards were not only difficult to feed through, but needed to be fed quickly,
at about 6 to 7 boards per minute. The operator was not much taller than the
infeed table. This made the task even more physically demanding, since she had to work
in an awkward position with her arms outstretched at nearly shoulder height. To make the task easier, evidence suggests
that the operator fed some boards from the end of the table. There was no barrier or
guard to prevent this. A board with rot on the underside was run
through the stripsaw. It kicked back, and broke into three pieces. One piece pushed up the kickback fingers,
allowing the piece next to it to shoot out and strike another board, which then shot
into the operator. She did not survive her injuries. Safeguarding could have prevented this accident.
Safeguards protect workers from hazards when a machine is running. If you’re an employer, perform a risk assessment
for each machine. Examine each task under different conditions to identify what may
cause an injury. Then determine the most effective safeguards. For example, the feeding of both planed and
unplaned boards needed to be examined. Given the hazard of kickbacks, a barrier was installed
as a safeguard. As an employer, look for effective solutions
to health and safety issues. For instance, to make feeding easier, the boards could have
been pre-sorted into batches of similar thickness and the rollers adjusted to accommodate each
batch. Employers must also provide supervision to
ensure workers’ health and safety. No one I interviewed had ever seen this saw
kick back a board with such force, so they may not have realized the seriousness of the
hazard. A saw’s kickback can be deadly. Use safeguards to protect against it.


78 thoughts on “Worker Killed When Saw Kicks Back”

  • man ive seen at least 2 guys get rocked from kickback on edgers one in the face the other in the chest. they had better days

  • timequakezombie says:

    a guy at my work was feeding the ripsaw and a piece 10 ft long and an inch thick kicked back and went right through his hand.

  • Surface grinding soft tungsten carbide by holding the work piece in a corner of a graphite sliding block can cause the workpiece to kickback. This is especially true of short and wide diameter workpieces that don't sit firmly in the corner and move around. The wheel catches it and violently snaps it off and flings it at extreme velocity. If your holding finger or thumb is in the path then hello pain and numbness (same as hitting your finger or thumb with a hammer). If the wheel breaks…

  • rocintrucker83021227 says:

    Great vid! One thing I must point out is that 99% of companys care more about production than safety. I found in my years of working machines small shops cut alot of corners on safety. The larger factory I worked for had a lot of rules and protection for the workers. Having to ware a chain nail glove to run a foam saw was a little annoying at first. But seeing how sharp the blade was was enough to scare me into putting it on everytime even to just do a 5 second cut.

  • @jobvindex That may be funny if the poor girl who like any of us could have been standing there doing the same thing didnt die.

  • @electrogear That saw is massive. I had a regular contractor saw throw a 2×6 30 feet back and slam into a wall behind me. They are real powerful because the blade tends to push the wood back. If the wood lifts off the table even slightly, goodbye..

  • googlepluscansuckadick says:

    @jeffrey44 Not really, safe means to be free from risk of injury. If you are injured when safety equipment was in use, that safety equipment is insufficient. If you really wanted your employees to be totally safe then you could always put them in bomb suits 😛 But that would most likely slow down production and would be inefficient.

  • @electrogear a peice of wood shooting out the back of an industrial table saw can punch through a 1.5" piece of plywood, trust me the human body isnt stronger than a 1.5" plywood board.

  • im here because the kick back got me in the balls and i was rush in hospital and that was the most painfull thing ive ever lived through .

  • If you are an Employer, call An industry specific inspector, or safety specialist, to help you set up a safe environment FFS

  • It's only possible to be "too safe" in the sense that safety protocols can make an otherwise easy and simple job more difficult, fatiguing and expensive.

  • Useful information. However, I can't count the number of users of circular saws which are used without the riving knife, and consequently, the guard. Basic requirement, surely.

  • In grade 10 woodwork, when using a table saw,the shop teacher showed us how to use a push stick…As soon as the teacher left the room, the class clown put a piece of wood without the push stick and it kicked back and shot 25 feet back against the wall and put a 3/4 dent into the wall…That was bored into my mind ever since.

  • The safety in this mill lacks terriably. I dont know how many buddies I know that have lost the tips of fingers doing jobs that could have been easily prevented.

  • if your saying that this exact machine kicked back on you and hit you in the groin, your lying beyond belief. The machine sits well above the waist & is impossible to hit someone in that area of the body

  • Actually nope, the same shitty ass people still own this mill. & its still just as dangerous, I dont really remember any big repercussions from this incident

  • punishedexistence says:

    I had a similar experience with a radial arm saw, turned sideways to cut a piece of aluminum lengthwise.  The saw grabbed it and though I knew the danger, I ignored it, thinking nothing would happen.  Well, it kicked that piece of aluminum through a sheet metal door and into the ground about 100 feet away.  If I was in the way I would have been an organ shish-kebab.  I was young and dumb.  Of course nowadays I'd never attempt such a foolish thing.  I was lucky.  Some aren't.  Never play stupid with saws.  They will win, given the chance. 

  • Part of the problem is that a worker that was physically not up to the job. The narrator stated that the operator was too short to do the job so she was standing at the end of the table. The world needs to stop with the silly notion that all workers are equal because this is causing women  to be put into situations that are dangerous. Likewise, a man only 5 foot tall would be equally unsafe operating this equipment due to the height of the table but he couldn't sue for discrimination if they refused to hire him. This kind of equal opportunity is bad for everyone.

  • These so called "accidents" in many cases are preventable. Moreover, factory operations should be monitored much more closely to ensure worker safety and comfort. The EMPLOYERS should be held accountable for these problems, not workers. They are often caused by the speed of the operation and corporate greed whereby companies seek to maximize profit at worker's safety expense. I have seen numerous cases where even slight adjustments, a stool perhaps, or chair, gloves, or slowing a machine down would make a huge difference. Unfortunately, OSHA along with many other organizations simply don't do the job. They are underfunded and considered a nuisance by employers who are allowed to function unsafely with impunity. Once I witnessed a worker nearly killed when her forklift fell off a loading platform. Her front wheels were in a semi-trailer that had been backed onto wooden 2 x 6 planks that had been stacked up to bring the trailer up to dock height since it was a "lowboy" trailer. As she engaged to back out of the trailer her back wheels were on the dock plate while her front tires were in the trailer (front wheel drive.) Her front tires spun as she reversed, as they did the entire trailer was spun out from under her forklift sending the trailer at least ten feet out into the parking lot. The forklift literally fell out into the lot and luckily because a forklift is back weighted it didn't tip over but rocked back and forth like a weighted punching bag. She held onto the steering wheel and survived. Thank God! It scared the living SH&T out of me and several others who witnessed this near tragedy. Did the company, who knew this had occurred take measures to prevent it in the future. Yeah right! They did nothing and continued to use this technique on "lowboys."

  • I use to operate a similar saw cutting strips/slabs and yes it can kick back this 1 time I was feeding it with 2×4's back to back and it did kick back knocking the last 2×4 flying out of my hands good thing I have common sense to be standing a foot or 2 beside it while feeding the machine lumber or it could of been fatal for me

  • the problem is the employers fault the just get it done attitude towards employes means you need your job just do it then they get rich at your expense you will never get a raise you are stuck working a job that can be replacedlse by someone else keep a journal of everything when u get hurt hurt them back

  • Government safety inspectors are better than most bureaucrats. Workers should have access to employer's liability insurance records. Unions claim to have improved safety because safety improved during unionization period in 20th century but correlation doesn't equal cause. Union bosses have nothing to lose when you get hurt but insurance companies do.

  • Sorting out the wood into sizes. Great piece of advice that a business thinks costs more time and money so it is not needed. Can always hire another employee if one dies. Sad but profits over life.

  • Safe-guards DO NOT protect against STUPIDITY, the reason you get trained or train workers is to avoid this crap…

  • So the accident was caused by a "border with rot on the other side". That's crystal clear. Watch out for those borders with rot on the other side.

  • Then 'one piece pushed back to kick back fingers'. So the worker was killed by some kick back fingers. Always be careful of kick back fingers.

  • So the root cause was she was just too short? That seems… well, extremely stupid that this issue was not remedied. Would it have been too hard to get her a crate to stand on or something? I would think a supervisor would look at her struggling with the thing and realize that someone wrestling the machine won't be as fast or as efficient and would do something to help the issue.

  • Tommy Petraglia says:

    How about hiring people with common sense to never stand directly in the line of feed.

    Workers claim to the investigator this saw 'never kicked back that bad before' which means the saw was known to kick back so they were on notice.

    Why put the dumbest worker in the most dangerous machine?

    Never in 30 years machining wood had I ever had or even witnessed a kick that caused serious injury

  • The problem with our modern society is that we blame the employer, the government, etc. If you don't think it's safe, you shouldn't be doing it.

  • Men — even tall men — die of kickback every year. The armchair geniuses in the comments that chalk this up to gender or height have literally no idea what they are talking about. It's a bad design with an obvious lack of consideration for the risks. Take some responsibility for the workplace you design.

  • This is not just a problem of the employer, not just a problem of employee stupidity. It is a combination of both. The employee should have never stood behind the saw. Other employees who saw the worker behind the saw should have reported it. The employer should have had better safety standards. As was mentioned in the video, the boards should have been pre-sorted to be within a certain size, there should have been some kind of barrier to prevent anyone from standing directly behind the saw, the operator should have let the company know that they were too short to do the job safely and been reassigned to something else.

    These kind of problems can rarely be pinned on only one person or one thing. They take a perfect combination of multiple things happening at once. The operator had probably fed boards this way numerous times and never had a problem. This is why I always cringe when I see woodworker on youtube talking about why they don't need a riving knife or blade guard on their table saws, or feed wood past the saw blade with their hands inches away from the blade (usually without a blade guard). Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't happen. When it does happen, you will not be fast enough to react. I came here from a video of a guy who was trying to demonstrate kickback from a saw safely. At least he thought he was safe and ready for what was going to happen.

    My approach to woodworking is to pretend like every tool in my shop can kill me, because they can. It only takes a second of the mind wandering for something horrible to happen. Working without safety gear makes it 1000 times more likely to happen.

  • No mention of making it possible to work at a decent height, so (shorter) workers don't try to find an alternate way to load the machine?

  • Never hand feed boards in from the very back of the planer , the operator should have feed them in from the front side and the edges should have been ran across the jointer to keep bark from jamming and binding the fence guard plate…the rollers adjustments or feeder rollers are not the main issue of these accidents. Kickbacks happen quite often so never stand directly behind a wood planer.

  • Victorian Sculptures says:

    "The narrator stated that the operator was too short to do the job "

    No, the narrator did not state she was too short to do the job, only
    that the height of the infeed was high enough she had her arms up almost
    to her shoulders- the machine was too high off the floor and should have been lower or a walk platform put next to it, but that
    wasn't specifically what caused the kickback and injury, the kickback
    was going to happen anyway, it's only speculation what happened.

  • Corana Desetta says:

    I have worked in two saw mill facilities as a maintenance mechanic.One place manufactured trusses,and believe me when i say that gantry drive tables are extremely dangerous.From the electrical,the hydraulics and the pneumatics involved on the systems.I was removing a pneumatic cylinder that was in need of a seal rebuild and had noticed that someone had actually tried to triple feed the inlet air for "said"reason to increase the lifting torque to operate the pop up arm to throw the truss from the gantry table onto the conveyor rollers.Crazy idea was is that the mexicans brothers up top while i was underneath were told keep running production,not a safe idea…Needless to say i waited til the shift ended to finish up.The company wanted to keep production running regardless of the risk that the mechanic faced….

  • Some of the comments below suggest stupidity on the part of the worker. This is counter factual reasoning. We have information available to us that the worker didn’t—and her decisions would have made absolute sense to her at the time. We can only build safer systems by understanding why those decisions made sense, because other workers with similar training may make the same decisions in the future.

  • For some reason this reminds me of Kara Hultgreen. She was accepted as a fighter pilot in the mostly because of pressure from the media/public to start training female fighter pilots. Her performance in testing showed she wasn't ready but she was still allowed to pass. In the end that cost her her life. I know this case is a bit different because any operator probably would have been injured. But someone of that height probably wouldn't have been given the job to begin with.

  • I think the six boards a minute sums up this video. Safety last and profits first. They probably hired a new worker before the Ambulance arrived.

  • Casanova Frankenstein says:

    Common Sense is a superpower nowadays. Every time I work on a project I think what could go wrong. How could I get hurt. And then I act accordingly. Most people I've seen in the work labor force have a lukewarm IQ.

  • CAN ALL THE IGNORANT DUDES STOP SAYING WOMEN ARE TOO SHORT FOR THE JOB. Maybe its the equipment that's too tall‽
    Work with me here for a second. I'm a designer, so I know a thing or two about this.
    The platform appears to be about 4 and half feet tall. The average height of a male is 5' 9", putting the rollers a few inches below chest height, which is a difficult height to be lifting to, especially when there is no good reason for it to be that high.
    Keep in mind that this is an average, so half the population is going to be even more uncomfortable on the machine.

    Now when you consider that an average female height is 5'4", its pretty obvious that there was no consideration given to ergonomics when designing this equipment.
    A 6+ foot tall person could easily lift to 4 feet without straining or bending uncomfortably, so why not make it that height? Or better yet, design it to be adjustable? Because the designer didn't consider the limiting condition on that part.

  • Letocetum sulley says:

    Most comments seem to be assumption and gender based , fact is this is roller fed, anyone that knows wood and how it behaves wet/case hardened will know it happens, if you work with wood it will kick sooner or later, sharp tools are safer than blunt "mad axemen exempt", I've never trusted roller feed, you have no control, common sense and experience can't be taught … 45 years experience ! moral is, sh*t wood binds and kicks back:{

  • I hate to say it but i believe training was the problem. The kickback problem exists on all circular saws. Wood chippers are also inherently dangerous in the same way. Anyone thinking age, gender,height, would have made a difference is just kidding themselves. This is a TRAINING ISSUE. You are taught the correct way or you are not. The deadly funnel exists in more than law enforcement. I have seen pieces come back out of many machines that would kill anyone in the way. KEY IS TO KNOW THESE AREAS AN KNOW YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS TO A TEE.

  • hilarious how they dont shut down a day of operation for an employee dying on the job… pretty sad honestly like I get they got a buisness to run but have some respect!

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