Forensic Engineering Analysis of a Table-Saw Kickback Injury

Article Author(s): Harold Josephs, Ph.D., P.E., C.S.P. (NAFE 295F)

Volume: 28
Volume #: 1
Month: June
Year: 2011

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An experienced carpenter, while using a properly guarded “portable” job-site table saw, was seriously
injured when he was struck by an oak board he was “ripping” that came hurtling backwards due to
“kickback.” Although there are numerous causes of table-saw kickback involving carpentry, the primary
cause of initiating a kickback sequence is where the saw binds against the wood being cut. The subject
saw had the capability of cutting bevels by taking the saw arbor and tightening the saw arbor into position
by means of a bevel-lock assembly. The adequacy of the design and manufacturing quality of the
bevel lock assembly to hold the saw arbor firmly in position was a major focus of this investigation. Other
components leading to the accident sequence included the type and hardness of the wood being cut
and the method of cutting or ripping. The foreseeability of table-saw kickback occurring to experienced
carpenters and realistic countermeasure solutions to the table-saw kickback phenomena are reviewed.

Kickback, Table-Saw, Wood-Saw, Saw Kickback, Wood-Saw Kickback