Saws are among the most common power tools used on a home building site. When used properly and maintained in good working order, saws are quick and efficient tools to complete the job. But serious injuries can result if the proper safety precautions are not followed.
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are more than 30,000 table saw injuries annually. The most frequently injured body parts are lacerations to the fingers and hands. Medical costs for treatment of table saw injuries are estimated at $2 billion or more.
Although table saws cause the most injuries, care must also be taken when using circular, miter, reciprocating and any other kind of saw, including hand and, of course, chainsaws.
When using saws, remember the following tips to ensure safety.
- Wear the proper personal protective equipment, including eye and face protection to protect against flying wood dust, chips and particles.
- Ensure all blades and rotating parts are guarded.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing and jewelry that could easily get snagged.
- Always be aware of hand placement when using saws: Keep them out of the line of the cut.
- Equip the saw’s blade with a self-adjusting guard that adjusts to the thickness of the material being cut.
- Be aware of kickbacks. Kickbacks occur when the saw blade catches during cutting and throws the material back toward the operator.
- Cords to saws should be maintained in good condition and not contain exposed wiring.
NAHB recently published a video toolbox talk on saw safety. Watch the video below, and visit the Saw Safety Video Toolbox Talk
for a Spanish version of the video and handouts for workers.
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For more information on jobsite safety, contact Rob Matuga