Manuals only tell so much about avoiding power tool accidents. A busy workshop has a multitude of supposedly harmless tools and supplies lying in the open, taken for granted. When unexpected mistakes happen in the workplace, bad luck gets the blame. People credited with good luck are usually naturally gifted with fast reflexes and good humor balanced with survival instincts. But sooner or later, even a cautious, sensible person gets a clever urge or a funny idea. Our own embarrassing mistakes teach us the most memorable lessons. An experienced woodworker knows that it's safer and more fun to learn from someone else's stupid blooper. Behold those who dared to fail.
Strange Tales Of Woe
A crowd of patrons at a woodworking trade show were watching a salesman. He had an ordinary saw next to another with a saw stopping safety device. He showed how each might work when it hit an operator's finger. For simulation, he used a sausage as a substitute. Intrigued, a curious spectator stepped up for a closer look and was struck in the eye by a flying morsel.
A carpenter's assistant put a board on a swivel chair to cut it. What goes around comes around.
A helpful shop class student wanted to make the chuck key easier to find. After a moment of thought, he logically left it in the drill chuck. During the next shop class it was found driven into the door at eye level.
A trainee put a new blade on the saw, but something was strange. No matter how hard he tried, it would fail to cut. Another trainee applied brute force, but it would only fail for him, too. Soon, several were huddled in a cluster discussing the mystery. Reluctantly, they went to the office to complain about the weird failure. The supervisor instructed them to turn it around. They came back to the workshop and pushed the chop saw all the way around, but it still couldn't cut butter.
It was a warm, sunny day out at the lumberyard. A worker was sorting through the boards trying to find the straightest ones. He reached in the woodpile and was bitten by a snake.
A do-it-yourself-er put on a big blade, but neglected to change the height adjustment before sawing the workbench in half.
An inventive worker dreamed up an efficient way to strip dip seal off. The next day at work he proudly invited the foreman to supervise his experiment. The employee used a coated saw to cut a discarded scrap of wood. It was quick, and some plastic went in the vacuum, but success was mixed with failure. Most of it was splattered all over the boss, the ceiling, and everywhere else in the workshop.
Driving uphill, an unsecured chop saw fell off the truck bed and struck the windshield of a car that was tailgating.
A worker on the nightshift filed a form for workmen's compensation after falling off the belt sander near the finish line of the race. He forgot they don't make extension cords as long as they used to.
The boss was training a new employee to measure twice and cut once. The rookie was paying rapt attention and asking intelligent questions. This pleased and inspired the foreman to launch into advanced instruction. While elaborating, he put the good piece instead of the cut off in the wood stove by mistake.
A disgruntled employee with a twisted sense of humor took all the skilsaws, locked them on and released them into the wild before storming to the office to tender his resignation.
A distracted carpenter held a skilsaw in one hand, steadied a board with the other hand, and answered the phone with the other hand.
At the remote job site, the crew was sweaty and bored. To amuse themselves during a work break, a humorous plan was hatched involving an innocent roll of duct tape carelessly left out in the workplace. After that day, none of them would ever say a word about it.
Work safety bloopers from our readers
A worker at the sawmill cut off both his left arm and left leg. He's all Right now.
- Ken in Sycamore, IL