Circular saw misuse is related to upper limb injuries: a cross-sectional study
OBJECTIVES: Machinery injuries account for a substantial share of traumatic upper limb injuries (TULIs) affecting young active individuals. This study is based on the hypothesis that there is an important relationship between the improper use of power saws and TULIs. The aim of the study is to assess the prevalence and epidemiology of TULIs caused by power saws and determine the risks related to power saw use. METHODS: A cross-sectional evaluation of medical records from a two-year period was performed. Patients sustaining TULIs related to power saws were analyzed. Data on the epidemiology, site of injury, mechanism of trauma, technical specifications of the tool, cutting material, personal protective equipment, time lost and return to work were obtained. RESULTS: A database search retrieved 193 TULI records, of which 104 were related to power saws. The majority of patients were male (102/104; 98.1%), right-handed (97/104; 93.3%), and manual workers (46/104; 44.2%), with an average age of 46.8 years. The thumb was the most frequently injured site (32/93; 34.4%). Most of the injuries were caused by manual saws (85/104; 81.7%), and masonry saws accounted for 68.2% (58/85) of the cases. Masonry saws improperly used for woodwork resulted in 86.2% (50/58) of the injuries. TULI caused by masonry saws was 5 times higher in manual workers than in other patients. In addition, masonry saws had a risk of kickback 15 times higher than that of other saws, and the risk of injury increased by 5.25 times when the saws were used improperly for wood cutting. CONCLUSIONS: The profile of TULIs related to power saws was demonstrated and was mainly associated with manual saws operated by manual workers that inappropriately used masonry saws for woodworking.