NSW Ambulance call for greater safety after spike in power tool injuries

Paramedics treat a man who had sustained serious neck wounds while repairing a fence at North St Marys in August. Picture: CareFlight
Paramedics treat a man who had sustained serious neck wounds while repairing a fence at North St Marys in August. Picture: CareFlight

Severed fingers and serious neck wounds are among a raft of tool-related injuries in western Sydney over the past three months.

Since July, 27 Sydneysiders have been rushed to hospital after injuring themselves with tools including electric saws and angle grinders, while working on projects around the house.

One of the more serious cases saw a North St Marys man, 70, placed in an induced coma after an angle grinder blade disintegrated and slashed his throat.

The spike in incidents has prompted a warning from NSW Ambulance, which is concerned residents are not taking the proper safety precautions. 

NSW Ambulance Chief Inspector Brian Parsell said most tool-related injuries were caused by inattention or rushing to get a job done.

He said it was easy for home renovations to go wrong and difficult jobs should be left to skilled tradespeople.

“Never use tools that are beyond your level of knowledge, skill or strength; keep your body, especially fingers, away from blades; and disconnect the power before changing blades,” he said.

Chief Inspector Parsell said in the event of a serious incident, call triple-0 and ask for an ambulance.

He said people should never work alone with power tools.

“Bystanders should turn off the power and remove the patient from danger. At the same time, stop any life-threatening hemorrhages,” he said.

“If there are severed digits or a limb, stop the bleeding first, call an ambulance, then attend to the missing body part.”

Contrary to popular belief, severed limbs and digits should not be put directly on ice.

“Put them in a secured plastic bag; put that bag in another bag and then put it in cool, tepid water or iced water. But don’t freeze it. If you freeze the tissue, you’ll kill it,” Chief Inspector Parsell said.

Western Sydney incidents:

  • Dural – Man, 28, sliced open leg with a power saw, July 12
  • St Clair – Man, 70, amputated fingers with a saw, July 29
  • Colyton – Man, 50, partially amputated thumb with an axe, August 4
  • North St Marys – Man, 26, shot himself in wrist with nail gun, August 21
  • North St Marys – Man, 70, serious neck wound when blade disintegrated, August 24
  • Dural – Man, 35, injured hand with chisel, September 5
  • Castlereagh – Man, 45, cut arm with angle grinder, September 8