Cyclone clean-up sees a spike in chainsaw injuries
THE Proserpine Hospital has seen more chainsaw injuries in a single day than in a whole year, as the clean up from Cyclone Debbie continues.
Director of Medical Services Dr Shaun Grimes said the hospital was continuing to see people with chainsaw and other power tool related injuries.
"We had three patients present with chainsaw injuries on one day recently, and that's more than we would normally see in an entire year," Dr Grimes said.
Even now, six weeks after the cyclone, Dr Grimes expects to treat more people.
"The insurance assessors have basically finished and people are now moving to clean up a lot of the damage and mess," he said.
"The rain has slowed the clean-up and there's still a lot of work to be done so unfortunately I think we'll continue to see those injuries."
Despite the high number, only one injured person had to be transferred to Mackay to be treated further.
"We had one patient who had a chainsaw cut to the head when his mate was using it and then turned around and hit him," he said.
"He was very embarrassed about what had happened but thankfully it was only a minor cut.
"In other cases the chainsaw has kicked back and got them in the leg or the hand. We also had one person using an angle grinder and their hand got in the way."
The wet weather and delays to clean up efforts has prompted the Proserpine Hospital to warn of the dangers of using power tools unsafely.
"We've had people falling off ladders using chainsaws, people drilling through their fingers and a person with a laceration from a hedge trimmer," he said.
"We've got a lot of people using power tools they ordinarily wouldn't use. They haven't been trained to use the equipment properly and are not as safety conscious as they should be," he said.
Dr Grimes reminded people to use the correct safety equipment when using power tools.
"People need to have situational awareness when cutting through logs and trees and make sure they don't become distracted. It is important to have the correct safety equipment when using these devices," he said.
Dr Grimes also warned people against people overdoing manual work if they were unwell.
"We've had some cardiac presentations with people who have over exerted themselves," he said.