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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    40
    Posts
    294

    Default A reminder about safety (even with hand tools)

    Dear all,

    I won't post a photo but I thought I would share something as a reminder to all.

    On the weekend, I spent a few minutes in my garage sharpening and setting up a new plane (a xmas present to myself I had just gotten around to having a play with). I was barefoot at the bench. This is an easy habit as my shop is in an internal garage that also houses a laundry, so I can duck in from the house easily.

    While tapping on the plane (a woodie), without a good grip on the wedge, the freshly sharpened plane iron fell out, and onto the floor. I have a good habit of always stepping back and just letting the tool drop when it happens.

    The freshly sharpened and stropped plane iron managed to somehow bounce on the mat backwards, and up on the upwards arc, give my foot a really good slice on the top of the foot, near the tendons of my big toe. The photo is quite gruesome.

    Fortunately it was quite a "clean" injury as it was a single slice with a super-sharp blade and indeed it was almost eerie how little it hurt. However it was the emergency ward, 4 stitches, and a tetanus shot, and a week without being able to wear a shoe (because of the dressing). What struck me was how worried the doctors were about the toe function due to how close all the tendons that move the toes are to the top of the foot (so little soft tissue there). It really was a near miss. If the plane iron had fell directly on my foot - it was a very thick (HNT Gordon) plane iron - well I wouldn't be surprised to be waiting to hear whether my toes would ever work properly again.

    So the lesson learnt is - even if you've got a comfy, at home, hand tool focused shop - shoes on for anything, no exceptions, even just cleaning up or fiddling. Also a reminder that just because you're living the galoot dreamlife, not using power tools and decked out in PPE, you can still get hurt. It is hard to imagine any cutting tool less likely to hurt yourself (outside of deliberately silly action) if you're being careful than a wooden plane, but one can manage it!

    Chris

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    25,407

    Default

    Ouch.

    Here's one where no tools were involved.

    Early one morning about 15 years ago, just before I went to work, I ducked out to the side of the house (wearing my thongs) to see if a piece of 2" diam, about 1.5m long, HD Galv pipe was still there - it was. I intended to use it for a new project so I grabbed it and took it down to the shed where I leaned it up against a corner of the bench. I then saw something off to one side of the bench corner that I have been looking for and stepped over to grab it - mean while the pipe rolls off the corner of bench and the end lands on my left big toe nail. Danced around on one foot like a lunatic for a while and over about 1/2 an hour that toe blew up like a giant purple plum. The nail was causing me so much pain I had to burn a hole in it with a hot needle to let the blood out - it fair gushed when it came out and kept coming.

    Then even though I could barely walk I had to go to work to chair an important faculty meeting. I couldn't wear shoes so I wore some manky opened toed sandals complete with a bloodied bandage on the toe. Walking was painful so I ended up hobbling late into the meeting looking like a complete dork. Lots of comments from the 20 or so staff standing around me. Half way though the meeting I had to hand the chair over to another staff member while I rebandaged my toe.

    That night I got next to no sleep so I did go to the doc the next day and it turned out I had broken it. Not much could be done. - ankle moon boot for 6 weeks and pin killers to get some sleep. What a PITA that was - only surpassed by Breaking my ankle last year.

    From then on it was steel capped Blunnies every time I went to the shed but I admit I have been recently ducking in there occasionally with just my crocs.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    3,816

    Default

    I too learnt the hard way not to go barefoot, I have heavy duty industrial sewing machines one is in in a nice carpeted room so of course there was no need for shoes, I started sewing and my foot was sticking to the pedal, a bit strange, on investigation the pedal was covered in blood at some previous time I had apparently dropped a needle on the carpet, now deeply imbedded in my foot the point was causing a small tent on the top of my foot. These needles are over 50mm in length and 2mm thick of course the worst part was I then had to grab some pliers and remove it then off for a tetanus shot, luckily the was no serious damage but I always were shoes now.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    33

    Default

    I did something similar a few weeks back, just finished sharpening a chisel when the damn thing slipped out of my hands, like an idiot I tried to catch it, sliced the pad of my thumb to the bone, luckily it was just the corner of the chisel so the cut was short and they could just glue it up.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Millmerran,QLD
    Age
    70
    Posts
    8,892

    Default

    I am safety conscious within what I describe as "reason." By that I mean most of the time I take reasonable precautions. Right now I am wearing safety glasses (prescription) and safety boots as I sit at the computer, but that is because I have just come into the house from the shed and has very little to do with the associated dangers of typing at a keyboard. With noisy machinery I additionally wear ear plugs or ear muffs. (On the computer, I just wind the sound down a little.)

    However, recently I suffered an eye injury while tending to the garden pond. How did that happen? I had waded into the pond to reduce the amount of water vegetation and bent down to accomplish this. In doing so I felt a gentle stab in the eye. I shook my head, blinked and carried on. By the next day I felt that there was still something in my eye and went to the doctor. He said that he thought something was there, but he did not have the right equipment to extract it. I was referred to an ophthalmic surgeon, who confirmed there was something there.

    I realised after this that I had stabbed my eye on the tip of a slender plant that had a seed head. This is the plant:

    P1070158 (Medium).JPG

    But it was in amongst other grasses so difficult to see

    P1070157 (Medium).JPG

    and it was this tip that caused all the trouble. I was prescribed a course of anti-biotics that I had to travel 200km to collect and cost $350. An expensive little exercise. Apparently the risk of fungal contamination of the eye is high and potentially insidious.

    P1070159 (Medium).JPG

    My point in mentioning this is that we cannot take precautions against everything. Hence the "reason" in my original statement. In fact if we were to be absolutely "safe" we would not leave the house. One incident I had a long time ago was dropping a chef's knife onto my bare foot in the kitchen: Straight across my big toe: Another visit to the hospital!

    So maybe the house is not safe either.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    25,407

    Default

    The poke in the eye with a plant tip reminds me of,
    I had a thorn on a small Bouganvillia branch I was carrying puncture and tear a 3mm long hole in a corner of my cornea. Boy did that hurt, I was wearing full PPE while I was pruning but took them off once I was finished. I was only then I spied a lone long branch I had left over on the side of the lawn and picked it up and carried it down the side of the house to the bin. While walking along it got tangled up with other vegetation and was dragged out of my hands and flicked across one eye.
    Follow up health circus was same as Paul's. That Bouganvillia stings pretty badly to - maybe I'm a bit allergic to it but even the smallest scratch comes out in a fat welt on my skin

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    se Melbourne
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,360

    Default

    I had someone help me hang a 1800mm wide whiteboard on a solid wall. His instructions to mark the holes was put a screw in one hole and loosely attach to wall. Then level and mark other three holes.
    The first hole was easy and we put a screw in. The we balanced a spirit level on the top. While he held the board level I marked the other top hole. The spirit level fell off the top onto the bridge of my assistants nose drawing blood. Off to the dispensary for a bandage.
    The rest of the job went without incident.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Yes, I had a similar experience to the OP when installing bearers on top of piles for a garden shed. I was wearing canvas-top shoes.
    I had left a freshly-sharpened 50mm chisel on top of one of the bearers and accidentally knocked it off - so it fell blade down onto the top of one of my shoes.
    The blade sliced through the canvas of the shoes but luckly this slowed it down so there was only a small gash in the top of my foot.
    Lesson learned - these days I always wear shoes with leather tops in the workshop and when I am building landscape features in the garden.
    New Zealand

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Melbourne
    Age
    35
    Posts
    43

    Default

    I dropped a plank of spotted gum on my foot when I forgot to hold it while I loosened the hold fasts. Funny how it's always the stupid accident that, if you were watching someone else do it, you'd say "that'd never happen to me, I'm not an idiot"

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