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Be Wary of Serious Hand Injuries Using Table Saws, Lawn Mowers and Snowblowers

Orthopedic hand specialist Jon Hernandez, MD, details some of the most common injuries he sees in his practice, and recommends ways to avoid them

Be Wary of Serious Hand Injuries Using Table Saws, Lawn Mowers and Snowblowers

Jon Hernandez, MD, knows is just a matter of time before he sees another hand injury caused by a table saw.

“They’re one of the most common injuries I encounter with my patients,” says the orthopedic hand specialist who joined Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute in late October. “They’re right up there with lawn mower and snowblower injuries. Depending on the time of year, I usually see at least one a month.”

Hernandez, who is based at LVPG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine–Station Circle in Hazleton and LVPG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine–Carbon in Lehighton, is an avid woodworker himself.  He knows how devastating these hand injuries can be.

“It’s important to practice safety around all power equipment. The potential for injury is too great.” - Jon Hernandez, MD

Safety is critical when using a power saw

“The tearing and pulling action on the tissues of the hands while pushing wood through the blade can be quite traumatic,” Hernandez says. “The greatest safety tip I can offer is to make slow passes through the saw blade using push sticks or blocks in order to be sure your hands are nowhere near the blade.”

Hernandez also recommends inspecting the wood you’re pushing for knots and other defects to avoid any resistance that may cause the wood to kick back at you, possibly causing an injury.

“It’s important to practice safety around all power equipment,” Hernandez says. “The potential for injury is too great.”

Snowblowers and lawn mowers also require safe practices

Keeping your hands away from the rotating blades of a lawn mower or snowblower is also something Hernandez considers vital.

“Sometimes you won’t think anything about cleaning out the chute of snow from your snowblower or grass clippings from your lawn mower while the machine is still on,” Hernandez says. “You need to use some sort of cleaning stick to do that. Never use your hands.”

What to do if injury happens while using power equipment

If you do sustain a hand injury while using power equipment. Hernandez advises wrapping the injury to stop the bleeding, packing it with ice and getting to the emergency room as quickly as you can.

“Most of these cases require surgery to repair the injury or possibly amputation,” Hernandez says. “That’s why it is so important to be very careful.”

Hand Surgery

Reconstructive hand surgery by surgeons with Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) can restore function and improve the appearance of hands affected by disease, injury or birth defects.

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