Construction Worker Seriously Hurt by Circular Saw at Mainline Sewer Project on Campbell St West of Vail Ave, Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 12:18 PM Thursday to a construction accident at Campbell Street and Vail Avenue Arlington Heights, IL. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report that a construction suffered a laceration.

Upon arrival police and firefighter/paramedics discovered that a construction worker was injured by a portable circular saw on Campbell Street just west of Vail Avenue.

The worker was seriously injured with significant blood loss and was rushed to Northwest Community Hospital with extra firefighter/paramedics on board with Ambulance 1's crew.

Police began an investigation of the scene, but released the scene after learning that the construction worker's injuries were initially believed to be non-life-threatening.

Construction workers had a large hole dug in the middle of the Campbell Street just west of Vail Avenue and were using a trench box for collapse safety. The workers were upgrading sewer/drainage structures underground.

Other than police at the scene, workers did not speak about the accident to anyone.

It appeared that a worker might have been cutting across a 1" x 8" board with the powered portable circular saw. There appeared to be a strap with some material caught on the circular blade, but it was impossible to tell whether the material caused a kickback of the saw or whether a kickback caused the material to get caught on the blade.

According to circular sawing safety guidelines, kickback is best avoided by keeping two hands on the saw handles, and securing the stock that is being cut to prevent it from moving and binding the blade inside the cut. There are several other risks that can cause kickback, such as cutting before the saw is at full speed, beginning the cut while a saw tooth is already hooked on the stock being cut, or cutting with a dull blade.

Other important factors while operating a circular saw include: following proper manufacturing adjustments (including proper blade depth), proper use of the saw's built-in safety guards, use of eye shield and face shield protection, prohibiting supporting the board on both sides of the cut in manner that allows the board to bow downward and might cause binding (allow cutoff to fall freely), use of proper spacers under a long board or use of an underlying sacrificial board to support the board properly to prevent binding, prohibit pulling the saw backwards in the cutting track, keeping the body out of line with any likely projected kickback target area (e.g., stand to the side).

Too much blade depth is more likely to cause binding and kickback, and is more likely to expose the blade to cause an injury or allow the striking of another structure that could cause kickback. Workers should always double-check to make sure the cutting path is clear of the possibility of striking other objects.

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