9 Nov 2012

DIYers bear brunt of power saw injuries

10:51 am on 9 November 2012

Master builders say do-it-yourselfers will continue to injure themselves by the thousands if they're allowed to keep hiring power saws with virtually no training.

In the year to June, ACC recorded 2660 saw-related injuries. Of those accidents, 73% happened at home.

Though builders call them one of the most dangerous power tools on a construction site, most power saws are available to buy with no training required and the only legal requirement for those who hire the tools is that they be given brief safety instructions.

Registered Master Builder Dave Mudge says builders are trained for two to three months before using the tools and at least some training should be in place for others.

However Scotties construction director and fellow Master Builder Scotty Feasey says people will always take risks, and will continue to buy chainsaws which are available at low cost.

He says says it should be up to the individual to read the instructions and follow safety guides when using high risk tools.

Hand reconstruction surgeon Murray Beagley treats about two people a day at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland for saw-related injuries.

He recently treated a man who cut off two fingers with a drop saw, and says the former landscape builder is unable to go back to his job.

Mr Beagley says the number of replanting surgeries, where a limb is reattached, has gone from five to 12 a year in the past 10 years.

He says the home handyman is over-represented in the figures and more information about how dangerous these tools can be would be helpful.