West Sussex firefighter’s terror after accident with ‘potentially lethal’ chainsaw disc

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A West Sussex firefighter said he was just millimetres from life-changing injuries after slashing his leg with a chainsaw disc which was never supposed to be sold.

Simon Woodland, a 51-year-old firefighter from Aldwick told how he was doing DIY work at home when his angle-grinder ‘kicked back’ and sliced his leg.

He had just bought a chainsaw disc which was incorrectly labelled as compatible with angle-grinder and the laceration wounds he sustained as a result of the incident could have ended his 23-year-career.

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

Simon Woodland, 51, a firefighter with West Sussex Fire and Rescue ServiceSimon Woodland, 51, a firefighter with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Simon Woodland, 51, a firefighter with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

“I couldn’t believe it when it 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.”

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

Mr Woodland, a father of two, said he had no idea the chainsaw blade was not supposed to be for sale when he purchased it online.

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“I’ve used power tools for decades, but this product should never have been invented,” he added. “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.”

Mr Woodland sustained laceration wounds to his legMr Woodland sustained laceration wounds to his leg
Mr Woodland sustained laceration wounds to his leg

Angle grinders are not designed for use with accessories like these as they do not have the safety features required for electronic chainsaws.

The discs, which have serrated edges, effectively turn the angle grinders into handheld chainsaws, but the two products were never designed to be used together which means they could lead to injury or even death.

In an attempt to keep customers like Mr Woodland safe, West Sussex Trading Standards have released a safety warning about the accessories.

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Peter Aston, a 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.”

Mr Aston added that, although West Sussex Trading Standards have been contacting hardware shops across the county to remove the item from the shelves, most of them come from overseas sellers.

The trading standards body has asked any business still stocking the chainsaw blades to arrange a recall and remove them from market.

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Anyone who has the chainsaw blades in their possession has been asked to stop using them and contact the seller for a refund,