Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand News

Yes, Shop Class Can Be Dangerous

Many school students take shop class or automotive or industrial arts. Injuries can occur, especially with table saws and other dangerous equipment. This report takes a look at a series of cases (15) involving trauma to the wrist or hand in shop class. The authors want to bring this risky activity to our attention and help prevent future injuries.

Table saws caused more than half of the injuries. Band saws, drill presses, routers, and planers were also ways students injured themselves. Amputation, tendon injury, and cutting a nerve or blood vessel were the most common accidents. Boys were affected in 14 of the 15 cases. This may reflect the fact that more boys than girls take shop class. Everyone needed some medical care. Some students needed one or more operations.

This is the first study of shop class injuries reported. To prevent long-term disability in young people teachers must instruct and insist on the use of safety measures. The authors question whether power saws should even be allowed in high schools. Trauma can be minimized with care by a hand surgeon trained in microvascular surgery.

R. Cole Beavis, MD, and Dale A. Classen, MD, FRCSC. Hand Trauma in Shop Class. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics . January/February 2006. Vol. 1. No. 1. Pp. 36-38.


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