Router mishap - I got very lucky!

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Forum topic by MattinCincy posted 03-30-2010 11:00 PM 1914 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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128 posts in 3120 days

03-30-2010 11:00 PM

Wow, I came very close to a serious (or possibly fatal) injury the other day when setting up my router. I want to tell my story so others can learn not to make the same mistake.

I was installing a brand new, 1/2” 2 flute spiral bit in my router, which I had just grabbed from under my work bench where it had been sitting on a shelf with a few other tools. I made sure it was unplugged and then proceeded to install the bit with the router sitting on it’s flat top (with the bit facing toward the ceiling) on my workbench. I had removed the base to install the bit and planned on putting it back on and adjusting the bit height after I plugged it in, so I picked up the cord and leaned over my bench to plug it in to the receptacle on the wall behind my bench, not giving a second thought to the router sitting in front of me. Well, apparently the switch on the router got bumped to the “on” position at some point when it was under my bench and when I plugged it in it started up and the torque of the motor caused it to tip over towards me (and my very important bodily parts) before I could react. When I saw it happen, I tried to back up out of the way but the bit immediately found its way to the sweat pants that I was wearing and proceeded to suck itself into my groin area. This all happened with my hand still on the plug (I think) but my attention was now focused on what was happening down there so I didn’t immediately unplug the router, but grabbed it and attempted to pull it away from my body, but it was completely wound up in my pants and had stalled the motor. When I realized that, I did finally unplug it and it immediately released itself from my sweats.

At this point I wasn’t sure if I was injured or not – everything happened so quickly – but after a few seconds and a quick check I realized that I didn’t have a scratch on me. I got incredibly lucky. For those of you who don’t know, your femoral artery, which is one of the main trunks supplying blood to your body and is about the size of your thumb, is fairly close to the surface of your body in the groin area and could have easily been severed by this incident. If that had happened, There is a good chance I would have bled to death within minutes without medical treatment. Even if that didn’t happen, the other possibilities for injury in that area make me shudder as well. The router tore a hole in my sweats the size of a softball, and if it hadn’t been for the bit winding itself up and stalling the motor, things might have been much worse.

My lesson to myself and anyone else is to check and double check everything you do in the shop when it comes to power tools. Something as simple as a switch getting inadvertantly turned on when a tool is unplugged can lead to disasterous results.

-- Wag more, bark less.

27 replies so far

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3455 days

#1 posted 03-30-2010 11:03 PM

Wow…..I am glad you were not injured. Thanks for the reminder….we all need to be reminded of safety first.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View Jesse's profile


66 posts in 3185 days

#2 posted 03-30-2010 11:05 PM

Wow, that could have really sucked!!

-- Jesse, Hopewell Jct., NY

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3007 days

#3 posted 03-30-2010 11:20 PM

Brings a new meaning to Route a groove!! :)

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3082 days

#4 posted 03-30-2010 11:21 PM

one hell of luck in the accident
that was realy close
glad to hear you are alright
be safe and stay tuned


View ToddTurner's profile


144 posts in 3289 days

#5 posted 03-30-2010 11:30 PM

Isnt it amazing how things happen when you least expect it? When i first read this, i thought uh oh, then moved on to the next article. Then i thought, wait i LOVE to wear my sweatpants in the garage and just about everything in the shop is about waiste high, right around man-land! Thanks for raising my awareness as i also find my self changing router bits. I always keep a close eye on the switch.
Glad you are okay, we cant afford to loose a fellow LJ! Sorry to hear about the sweatpants too, I am sure they were your favorite pair with paint stains and all kinds of custom marking that makes them yours!

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2976 days

#6 posted 03-30-2010 11:32 PM

Oh man. Thank you for the reminder and glad to hear you didn’t get hurt. The router being inadvertently on when I plug it in is one of my biggest fears. Glad to know my obsessiveness about checking it first isn’t unfounded!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View David "Lucky Dawg" Brown's profile

David "Lucky Dawg" Brown

440 posts in 2959 days

#7 posted 03-31-2010 12:06 AM

I’d take the artery injury over the other one! hahaha!
That was a close one for ya!
Well next time I change a router bit Im wearing a cup!!

-- dumpster diver delux

View MattinCincy's profile


128 posts in 3120 days

#8 posted 03-31-2010 01:26 AM

I’ve been forever changed as a result of this near miss. I take all aspects of safety in my shop more seriously now.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View Mark's profile


1807 posts in 3240 days

#9 posted 03-31-2010 01:48 AM

tip to self…wear a steel cup…gotcha! thx

-- M.K.

View Kailua_Woodman's profile


4 posts in 2946 days

#10 posted 03-31-2010 03:11 AM


I’ve heard similar stories with, gladly, the same outcome.

It’s important to know that when a shop injury DOES happen, there will probably be a significant disconnect between you, and the people around you, as they try to process the information that so abruptly confronts them.

The trauma for YOU is physical, but for those who are made to react to your circumstance, there is the real potential of a significant psychological trauma.

I’m glad you got away with this one, but if serious injury DOES happen to you or anyone around you, just try to be mindful of your circumstance; stay calm and render the best assistance that you can to those around you.

-- SAND, Sand, sand! That's all I ever do is SAND.

View jasony's profile


47 posts in 3045 days

#11 posted 03-31-2010 05:42 AM

NOTE TO SELF: Always wear sweatpants in the shop!

Glad you’re okay. Yikes!

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3031 days

#12 posted 03-31-2010 02:18 PM

Glad you’re ok there guy..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 2979 days

#13 posted 03-31-2010 05:09 PM

I have a Ryobi plunge router and I can’t remember how many times I’ve gone to plug it in and thought – “I should check the power switch” only to find it has been bumped on. Hearing your storey, I’m sooo glad that I’ve made that check!

Thanks for sharing and glad to hear that the worst of it was probably needing to change your shorts … I mean sweatpants.

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 3026 days

#14 posted 03-31-2010 06:53 PM

I’m sure glad this was just a wakeup call, and not a wake!

I’ve been doing a lot of router work lately and it isn’t easy to go through the motions of ulplugging and plugging in the router when making quick bit changes. One thing that helps on a modern router is the “slow start” feature that keeps it from torquing itself off the bench.

I’ve often wondered how it would be to have a shielded foot switch that you had to step on to power up tools. It would provide a second way to remove power without unplugging, it would give you two handed control when powering up, and if trouble occurs it would provide a way to shut power off without letting go of whatever you’re holding.

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View JimmyNate's profile


124 posts in 3317 days

#15 posted 03-31-2010 06:57 PM


-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

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