• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • PLEASE: Read the FORUM RULES BEFORE registering!

Saw Kickback Causes Death


Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium

Massachusetts worker killed after saw hits him in throat

November 21, 2016

DUXBURY, Mass. (AP) — Authorities have identified a construction worker who was killed in Massachusetts when a power saw he was using kicked back and hit him in the throat.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office says 28-year-old Jason Sanderson, of Carver, and another worker had been excavating an underground water line in a trench when the incident happened Saturday afternoon in Duxbury.

Investigators say they believe the chop saw he was using “became bound” and jolted back at him, making contact with his neck.

Sanderson was pronounced dead at a hospital. Authorities say foul play is not suspected.

The name of the company Sanderson was working for hasn’t been released. The incident is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
Years back i was working, walking around fallen trees with an idling chainsaw ...chain kicked off a low branch and just touched my leg. Shredded my carhart insulated pants and gave a mild gash .
Kickback is a real thing with circular saws and chain saws . Really gotta think about what your doing and stay safe. Really sad for the poor guy . He was probably contorted in a difficult position down in that trench trying to restore service for people.
Such a shame . Thoughts and prayers to the family .


Active Member
Active Member
Sad news, lately been wondering is there any other kind? I wonder what type of saw it was? Sawzall, chop saw, bandsaw? I fear power saws ever since one threw a shelf at me in high school, could have broken my shoulder. Much rather use a lathe or mill. :apple:
Mark S.


New Member Liaison
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
Lathes and mills can throw stuff in their own way, though I am certain that we all know that already. I've got two scars on my chin that are exactly 1/2" apart that resulted from the open end of a toolpost wrench catching on a spinning lathe chuck and getting thrown at my chin. Hurt like the dickins! Anyway, that was 40 years ago when I was in high school. Am I more careful about spinning wrenches around while the chuck is still spinning? Oh ya!

Watched a fellow using a mill and he didn't have his stock secure enough on the mill table. Yup, it learned how to fly, but not as fast as a piece of flat steel that was being surface ground, and the operator forgot to turn on the magnetic chuck. It's amazing that somebody didn't get killed in my shop class!

Back to the thread at hand though. Really sad to hear of accidents like this, but it drives home the fact that kickback is very real.


Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
I made a 8" x 8" x 6" box out of 1/2" birch plywood with box joints on the corners. The sides didn't line up just right and were about a 1/16" higher than the adjacent sides. No problem - just run it through the table saw and trim the edges back slightly. I made the first cut then ran it through the saw again. Somehow it bound up and flew right back at me hitting me in the chest and bouncing up to the shop ceiling. I don't know how I dodged my face over to the side fast enough not to get hit square in the jaw. No real damage except a bruise that took about a month to heal. I have a new respect for table saws and always stand to the side now.
Never underestimate the power of a spinning blade!


Active User
Active Member
I have a bit of hair on my chest. One very hot day with my shirt off, I was in my shop and needed to do some very detailed metal removal on a part about the size of a green pea. I had an eye loupe in one eye, Dremel with abrasive wheel in one hand and the part in my other hand. To steady everything, I held the Dremel and part close to my chest and bent my head down so I could see my progress while using the loupe. Well…I now know how fast a cantaloupe size of chest hair can be ripped out of my body in just a few nanoseconds!!!! And how funny it looks to see a Dremel trying to spin around with a clump of hair with roots attached to it causing it to thrash wildly out of balance. Luckily after a few months the hair grew back.


Active Member
Active Member
I don't think they could even DO shop classes like when I was a kid. Too much liability and insurance problems. Shop teachers/school districts getting sued. Stuff like that. I wonder how many kids maimed themselves in jr. high and high school shop classes?


H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
NEVER underestimate the power of ANY handtool . You would be amazed at what an 18 amp drill with a 5/8" drill going thru a tractor deck can do to your upper body ! Many a times it took me a week or two to untangle my arms . ;)


Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Running a custom wood shop for 20 years I've seen and had a few kick back incidents. One that really illustrates the power and danger: A guy was ripping some ½" square by about 12" long hardwood strips on a table saw. He was using a stick to push the pieces past the blade but it slipped off one of them turning it into a bullet. I say bullet because it blew a hole clear through 6 sheets of ½" veneered particleboard that were stacked on an a-frame, behind the operator. Had he or anyone else been in the way it would have been horrific.

Tony Wells

Former Vice President
Staff member
I remember in jr high wood shop class, second year students were allowed to use the table saw and jointer, finally. I already had some experience, having a couple of carpenters in the family, but this one was on the teacher. The table saw, a nice Delta cabinet saw, was lined up with the double doors on the outside wall so stock could be brought in for all our projects. He was ripping a long piece of 2 x when it pinched and he didn't have the anti-kickback pawls in place, so of course it ejected the 2 x with a great deal of force. As I recall it was a 5 hp saw, and the 2 x went through one of the double doors. Even though it left a ragged hole, he refused to replace it because it was a reminder of the consequences of running a saw without the safety features engaged. It was a nice piece of black walnut. We retrieved it and finished ripping it, WITH the pawls down. It didn't pinch cutting from the other end.


himself, himself
H-M Supporter-Premium
Speaking of push sticks... I don't use one. They are generally too wide, and don't give you any control except down.
Instead, I use an icepick.


The point lets me keep the wood tight down AND against the fence, and it's thin enough to rip a 3/16 slice with no problem. And the tip is so small, that even if the blade got it, I don't think it would do any damage.


Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
@Nels Nelson thanks for posting that.

It is very hard to read; that kid passed way too young.
My two sons will soon be that age, and I don't think I could handle it.

However, it is a good reminder for everyone to play and work safe.

I remember one supervisor I had in a private machine shop I worked at during high-school, he had a large scar across his face.
It was rumoured to be a lathe accident....he never talked about it.



Active User
Active Member
This brings to mind a demonstration at a tool expo in Harrisburg Pa back in the '70's. One booth was selling some "new" style anti-kickback devise. They had a film showing a table saw kicking back a 2x right through a concrete wall that they built several feet behind the infeed side of the saw.
When I first got my mill, I was milling out a AR lower and didn't the vise as tight as I thought. The lower and jig flew across my garage, careening off the mill, wall and ceiling. That really got my attention.


Active User
Active Member
I was cutting some 1/4" ply about twenty years ago and it climbed the blade and kicked back right into my chest, really hard. Just about knock the wind out of me. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Soon after that, I saw some nice magnetic hold downs at the traveling Wood Show and bought a pair. I always take the time to set them up along with a feather board when ripping thin or small pieces. I also bought a few blank blade cover plates. The standard one is designed to have clearance to tip the blade and that leaves to little support for cutting smaller pieces that tend to get sucked in. So I made a "zero clearance" 90*and I also made a few for various angle cuts. And a couple for my adjustable dado blade.


Active Member
Active Member
I've got two....

In the late 70's, when I was building my house, my uncle was using my table saw and made the mistake of leaving the waste between the saw blade and the fence..... the roughly 1.5 X 3.5 X 4 inch piece of wood ricocheted off of his sternum, knocking the wind out of him, and thenbounced off knocking a hole in the sheetrock ceiling.... no serious injuries, but a lesson learned.....

About the same time, one of the grinder operators, running a 24" X 120" Mattison grinder snagged a 1/4 X 12 X 12 plate off the bottom of a egg crate shaped part (bad weld) and sent it about 100 feet down the shop floor and through a third story window, hitting the back side of the company sign with enough force to dent it.....


Active User
Active Member
I have heard of a sawyer over this side of the pond some years back who was killed with a kick back from a large circular saw , If that can happen to a skilled operator with many years of experience, It worries me to think on what can happen to many home handy persons who are not aware of how a simple lack of attention to safety can be fatal, I in my workshop have a little Dremel, A very useful tool indeed, sometimes I have had recourse to using it to cut through a small bolt in an area which one could not reach, This was to save damaging a fairly sensitive mechanism, by racking it to death bytrying to undo a set of frozen on nuts
folk use their Dremels without eye protection, That gives me the creeps, Even a bursting abrasive disc on these little machines can gouge out an eye in a nanosecond, You do not see the debris coming towards you, and if you could you could do nothing about it in the time scale. eYE PROTECTION EVERY TIME.

Brain Coral

Active User
Active Member
Saw kickbacks happen in the blink of an aye, and a human being cannot react quick enough to stop it or get out of the way. While trimming out a house, my buddy was ripping a 1"x2" x 8' long, piece of cherry in two on the table saw. He wasn't using a push stick, so when his hand got real close to the blade, he let it go, to walk around to the back side of the saw, to pull it the rest of the way through. He had done this many times before. Just as he touched the stick, it caught a tooth on the blade, splitting the remaining wood, and shot the 3/4"x3/4" piece, that was between the blade and the fence, like a javelin.... it went right through a double glazed window, and ended up spearing into the ground a foot deep, about 30 feet away from the house.

Brian :)


Active User
Active Member
I am a retired carpenter, and after 45 years in the trade have found that 2 types of people get cut/hurt from a saw including kickbacks. Young guys, because they don't have the experience on what can happen, and old timers because they have used the tools their whole life and nothing ever happened before. Sad story, always be careful!


H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
We carry these on every rig and use them often at fires. We use the "Rescue Blades" that are rated for almost any application. Nasty looking blade with very coarse diamonds. I always caution the young bucks prior to cutting them loose with one, specially when using the saw above shoulder height. The chain saws pose the most hazard for us, but we seldom use them over head unlike the "rescuesaw".
Unfortunate for this young lad. We all learn from mistakes (or should), but this young man had no second chance.