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An unfortunate reminder

Every now and then there is a story about someone being injured while doing something that just does not seem all that dangerous. Recently, woodturner Joan Kelly suffered a serious injury when a bowl she was turning unexpectedly broke apart.

She was struck in the head by one of the pieces, badly cut and knocked unconscious. Luckily, she was found very soon by her husband who called 911. At last report, she was "stabilizing but still unconscious."

This was an amazingly severe injury for something that seems to be a fairly benign project. And it serves as an unfortunate reminder that nothing in the shop is truly safe no matter how little danger it might present on the surface. The potential danger is always present and constant vigilance is required if one is to avoid injury. It has often been said that shop safety is more about awareness and attitude than it is about a "set of rules."

Often when someone is injured, we immediately look for the rule that that person broke and tell ourselves that the injury could have been avoided and that we don’t have to worry about being injured because we would never do that. But this is probably the most dangerous attitude of all because it leads us into a somewhat arrogant overconfidence that is a perfect setup for injury.


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