Vivid accident flashbacks “no fun”

Photo credit: Beni Ishaque Luthor on Flickr

The image kept replaying in his mind.

My friend Reid accidentally chopped off his pinky finger with a table saw when he was cutting window trim at work.

“For a couple of weeks – particularly when I was going to sleep – I would, in a flash, have a re-run go through my mind of the instant it happened,” he said. “I kept remembering it really vividly, in a particularly visual way. It was no fun.”

Reid describes how the injury happened.

“The wood binded, shot out of the saw, hit my arm, and flew across the room. I felt a hot sensation in my hand that was holding the wood,” he said. “At first I didn’t want to look, but then I looked down and saw that there was just a little, tiny thread of skin keeping the last link of my pinky finger on. Then I started freaking out.”

Reid said he was sweating and yelling the f-word while his coworkers wrapped up his finger and called an ambulance. Luckily his finger was saved and reattached.

He said his flashbacks were a symptom of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) – described on the HeretoHelp website: “Often after a traumatic event like a car accident or being a victim of crime, people continue to relive the experience through flashbacks…”

Going back to the saw

Eventually he did use a table saw again – despite feeling “very anxious” about it.

“I did go back to working with table saws again,” Reid said. “I was very careful and aware and very anxious when working with them.”

I asked what, if anything, he was doing differently at work after the injury.

“The one thing I do differently is take off my gloves,” Reid said. “I was wearing knit, rubberized palm gloves – and that’s a big no-no. It could have otherwise just been a nick but because it was all knit, whatever loop of yarn the tooth caught also sucked my finger in.”

Thanks to Reid for sharing this story. It’s a good reminder of the stress and mental suffering that comes with injury. Not good.

Resources on safe use of table saws

Table Saw Safety, from Thompson River University. (Note: Tip #3: “Do not wear gloves while operating a table saw.”)

OSH Answers: Table Saws, from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

SAFE Work Tips for Working with a Table Saw, from the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba.

Free Table Saw Safety Training Program, from Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) in partnership with OSHA.


One thought on “Vivid accident flashbacks “no fun”

  1. liv

    Familiar story having a family of carpenters…my dad still managed to retain all of his fingers but like your friend Reid he’s had some close calls to loosing digits…and he’s a first aid instructor. 🙂 My father in law was not so lucky..but he admits to lack of attention. Things happen…and I’m always paranoid about it.


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