We all recognize how important our hands are to our employability. However, every year hundreds of fingers and hands are lost to table saws. Table saws are the surest and cleanest way to lose a finger or a hand. Much of this is a result of getting used to operating a table saw and then losing respect for it. That is why it is so important that we review the common safety rules pertaining to the operation of a table saw.
Guide for Discussion
Two common types of saws: Table saw; radial arm saw.
General Operating Rules:
- Never operate without all guards in place, especially the blade guard. Be sure you stand in the correct position—always allow for kick back. Maintain good footing.
- Never allow other workers to work or rest when they are exposed to kick back. Maintain good housekeeping in the saw area.
- Never use your hands to run lumber through the blade or to clean off sawdust. Get a pushstick and a brush.
- Never use a saw with a dull blade. (Note: When you go to change a blade, make sure the power is disconnected and you control the switch.)
- Don’t crowd (i.e., pinch) a blade especially when cross-cutting. Don’t wear loose clothing around a saw.
- Always wear eye protection. Be wary of warped lumber.
- Be wary of “fly back” (also called kick back) when ripping. Keep the blade set so it just barely makes the desired cut.
Remember: The use of table saws can greatly increase productivity. But if improperly used, they can greatly handicap the user.