Power Saw Safety

 Important things to remember:

  • Read all warnings and the manual before operating saw.
  • When the saw is not in operation, it is wise to lower the blade below the table.
  • Disconnect power before performing maintenance or changing blades.
  • Use a push stick or other such safety device when making cuts that would require fingers to be near a blade.
  • Never operate the saw in a way that your fingers advance into the path of the blade. Always be fully present and alert, as this piece of equipment causes more serious injuries than anything else in the shop.
  • Keep the blade guard in place whenever possible. One of the main functions of a typical blade guard is to act as a splitter. This helps prevent the cut in the wood from closing and pinching the back of the blade and kicking back.
  • Wood being cut can be violently "kicked back". This is due to advancing the wood in a sinuous line and because natural stresses in the wood can cause a cut to "pinch" the back of the blade. This can be strong enough to cause material to jolt backwards resulting in serious injury. Using a splitter or a riving knife can mitigate this problem.
  • Wear eye protection. Eye protection is a good idea while operating all power tools. The rotational mass of a spinning saw blade combined with a large electric motor can contribute to the unexpected ejection of material. Safety glasses should encompass the eye area, including the front and sides of the eye.
  • Wear ear protection. Wear ear protection to prevent loss of hearing that can occur when using power equipment.
  • Wear clothing that is not excessively loose-fitting and tie back long hair. Loose-fitting clothing and long hair can be very dangerous if it comes in contact with the blade. This not only applies to table saws, but all other power tools as well. Cuffs should be buttoned when wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Adjust the table saw so the blade is perfectly parallel with the fence and the miter slots. If it is not parallel, the workpiece can become pinched between the blade and the fence, inducing kickback and causing injury. The manufacturer of the table saw will very likely send a manual free for the asking.
  • Always push the material past the saw when finishing a cut. Pieces not pushed far enough past the blade may get caught and drawn into the blade, causing kickback.
  • Operate the saw defensively. It is not uncommon for natural stresses in a piece of wood to cause the blade to be pinched and thrown violently. Do not work in a way that such an event might result in injury. THINK carefully and operate cautiously.