Reply by Uncle_Salty

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Posted on A Near Tragedy

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183 posts in 3099 days

#1 posted 09-20-2012 01:04 AM

It has been 25 years since I started teaching. I have had two incidents in my shop that required medical attention outside of a bandaid or a pair of tweezers. I was one of the incidents. I was cutting a piece of 1/4” plywood about 12” square to fit a drawer bottom for a kid during class, and, for some reason, the board kicked back and drug my right index finger over the saw blade. I have played this one over in my mind about a thousand times, and I am still not sure why it kicked back. I truly believe that it was an accident, and I reinstalled the splitter and it NEVER comes off unless the crosscut sled or dado head is being used.

The other incident involved one of my better students dragging his thumb over the cutterhead on the jointer. Fortunately, other than some flesh and some pride, it didn’t take anything else off. He had failed to use a push block (like he had been taught, trained and tested over) and admitted to screwing up as I was wrapping his hand up to take him to the office.

No matter how much safety is taught and reinforced (daily, in my situation), sometimes kids let it slide. Have I been lucky that nothing more has happened? Maybe… but I like to think that part of that is because of my diligence. And no matter how keen a teachers’ observational skills, how rigorous the safety training, how smart, stupid, responsbile or careless a student is, sometimes, stuff happens.

Was the teacher wrong in this situation? There are very few people that know. I’d guess that, after 29 years, the guy probably has a pretty good handle on the situation. I don’t think WE we ever know the truth or will be presented both sides of this story. I’d say there was some fault by all.

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