A cut with grave consequences

The impact of cutting injuries

Cutting injuries whilst sawing unfortunately occur all too often, and all over the world. Johannes Feldhoff is one of the nearly 450 tradespeople in Sweden who experience an accident in the workplace every year involving a bench-mounted circular saw or other power tool. We are meeting Johannes and our application specialist Paw Mikkelsen at the Festool site in Malmö in order to find out more about the new SawStop technology and to talk about the impact of cutting injuries.
Johannes Feldhoff
Craftsmen from Sweden
It has been one and a half years since carpenter Johannes Feldhoff, from Malmö in Sweden, severely injured his left hand in an accident whilst sawing. Since then, his whole life has been altered dramatically.

Johannes, how has your life changed since the accident?

JF: I have pain every day. My life has completely changed since the accident one and a half years ago. I will never be able to work as a carpenter again, as I can't perform everyday tasks which require dexterity. I can't push a button. I can't even pick up a screw. I would have done anything to have a saw with SawStop technology; I am limited by my injury, regardless of what I do, or rather can no longer do.

Paw, who is more likely to experience an accident whilst sawing?

Is it more likely inexperienced tradespeople or professionals?PM: You might think that it's predominantly inexperienced or untrained people who become the victims of accidents, but the opposite is the case. Those affected are usually very experienced tradespeople like Johannes, who suffer injuries purely on account of how frequently they use saws. A brief moment of carelessness is all it takes.

What kinds of injuries occur and how many cases are there every year in Sweden?

PM: According to Swedish accident insurance company AFA Försäkring, nearly 450 Swedish woodworkers every year are involved in accidents involving saws or other tools and which are severe enough to be reported to insurance companies. It's hardly surprising that it's the hands or fingers which are most often affected by these injuries. This is disastrous – hands are the most important tool for a tradesperson. Without the use of fingers, there can be no craft.

Is the TKS 80 otherwise a good bench-mounted circular saw?

PM: Aside from the safety aspect, which is an obvious advantage of the new TKS 80 with SawStop technology, the saw provides many other benefits. The saw blade is angled, which significantly reduces kickback and ensures stability in cutting behaviour and a clean cutting result on both the top and bottom of the workpiece.

Does the SawStop technology work on all materials?

PM: It's easy to test this if you are unsure. When the SawStop technology is active, the green LED flashes.

What happens if you're working with gloves on? Is the SawStop technology still reactive?

PM: Many tradespeople still work with gloves on, particularly when it's cold. It's imperative not to do this whilst sawing. As is the case with accidents caused by long hair, the hand can be pulled right into the saw within seconds, which can easily lead to very severe injuries to the entire hand. However, the TKS 80 with SawStop technology cuts through the glove and stops as soon as the saw blade comes into contact with the skin.

How long does it take until the saw blade stops?

PM: Less than five milliseconds. That is ten times faster than an airbag. The risk of serious injury is significantly reduced when the cartridge is activated.

How much does it cost to change the saw blade?

PM: Around 130 euros for the saw blade and around 90 euros for a new cartridge.JF: I was off work completely for three months and then working part time for another six months. With that in mind, what are around 200 euros for a saw blade and a replacement cartridge?
To finish, Paw demonstrates the SawStop technology with a test sausage. Shortly afterwards we hear a bang, and then silence. On careful inspection of the test sausage, we find a millimetre-long scratch in the skin, approximately where the top part of the finger joint would have been, and exactly where Johannes' middle finger was cut. He immediately compares his finger with the sausage and realises that his whole finger could have been saved and that he would have only sustained a millimetre-long scratch on his skin.

80,000 products sold in the USA

In the USA, 80,000 of the available SawStop saws have already been sold. The technology is therefore tried and tested and is a system that we can really trust. The US regulatory system for safety products is rigorous, which is why we've chosen this system to certify our SawStop technology.