Machinist Lacerates Thumb on Band Saw

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Occupational Safety and Health, Operations, Maintenance, Training and Qualification

On November 30, 2012, a machinist suffered a deep laceration to the right thumb while cutting stainless steel round stock on an automatic-feed, horizontal band saw. While adjusting the round stock, the worker contacted the rotating saw blade with the top of his right thumb.

The worker had completed cutting five out of six pieces of the material and in preparing to make the final cut; he raised the blade just above the stock by moving the auto-feed handle to approximately a halfway position between "full engagement" and "full release". The worker then opened the vise holding the stock and reached with his right hand to adjust the cut length. While adjusting the material, the still descending saw blade came into contact with the round stock causing it to rotate and trap the workers thumb between the blade and round stock causing the injury.

Lessons Learned: Even though the worker was a journey-level trained machinist experienced in the use of a typical band saw, he failed to notice the travel of the slowly moving saw blade until it suddenly made contact with the round stock. Misinformation or "tribal knowledge" training on this particular type of saw may have led to a misunderstanding or circumvention of proper safety practices.

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