Safety warning after firefighter survives horrific DIY incident

 

Release date: 26 July 2021

A firefighter from West Sussex told how he was just a millimetre or two from life-changing injuries after accidentally slashing his leg with a mis-sold chainsaw disc.

It comes as West Sussex Trading Standards are carrying out urgent checks at hardware stores across the county following concerns that potentially lethal chainsaw disc attachments are being mis-sold for use with angle grinders.

Simon Woodland, 51, from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service sustained injuries after using a disc incorrectly labelled to be compatible with household angle grinders.

The father-of-two was off duty and doing DIY work at home in Aldwick when the grinder ‘kicked back’ and sliced into his leg.

Simon suffered laceration wounds to his foot, in an incident that could have ended his 23-year-career.

He said: “The disc kicked back which wrenched the tool from my hand, sending it spinning to the floor whilst locked at full speed.

"I couldn't believe it when the accident happened. I was wearing protective gear when the tool sliced my leg. It was a real shock and I dreaded looking down to see what injuries I had sustained.

“When I bought the product online, I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to be on sale.

He said: “The disc slashed through my shoe into my foot and I got painful cuts into my right shin.

“I’ve used power tools for decades. But this product should never have been invented. It’s unsafe and potentially lethal. I urge anyone who has these in their possession to not use them under any circumstances and return them for a full refund.”

Angle grinders are not designed for use with such accessories as they do not incorporate the safety features required for electric chainsaws.

The serrated edge discs turn angle grinders into small hand-held chainsaws, but the two products are not designed to be used together and are likely to cause loss of control which could result in serious injury or even fatality.

Peter Aston, Team Manager with West Sussex Trading Standards said: “Simon’s experience should act as a stark warning to workers in the construction industry, DIY enthusiasts and wood carvers to stop using chainsaw discs being sold as attachments for angle grinders.

“These products are dangerous and may result in injuries arising from kickback caused by the chainsaw gripping the cutting surface and forcing the angle grinder to sharply turn or jump out of the hand of the operator.

“We’ve been contacting shops in the county who may have these items on sale, but we believe that these have mostly been sold online by overseas sellers. So far we have not found any for sale by online sellers in the county.

“Any business that sells these chainsaw discs as attachments for angle grinders must remove them from the market immediately as they do not comply with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. They should also arrange a recall for products already sold.”

West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support and Fire and Rescue, Duncan Crow, said: “Anyone who has these angle grinder attachments in their possession is urged to stop using them immediately. They should contact the seller for a refund if they believe the product was incorrectly marketed as compatible for use with an angle grinder.”

If you have seen these attachments on sale in the county, you can let Trading Standards know by calling 0808 2231133 or report it online.

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