Table Saw Accident Stories and Statistics

The statistics of saw accidents...

how and why they happen.


Safe Table Saw Practices

These safety practices shall be followed where a hazard exists to employees from use of a table saw. Only operators trained in the safe operation of a table saw are allowed to use the saw.

1. The operator should check the following points before operating the table saw:

a. Operator must wear safety glasses

b. If the material chips severely, a face shield should be used in addition to safety glasses

c. Blade should be checked for tightness

d. Check the hood guard and anti-kickback devices for proper operation

e. Verify location of off switch and/or emergency power disconnect

f. If used, check to ensure the fence is set properly and tight

g. Ensure that the table is clear of materials, tools, and debris

2. All table saws must have a hood guard, splitter, and anti-kickback device installed. One or more of these devices may be removed ONLY if absolutely necessary to perform a specific cut (e.g. dado or rabbit) and only with the approval of a shop supervisor. These safety devices must be re-installed immediately after completing the cut(s).

3. The fence and miter gauge should never be used together. Use the fence for ripping and the miter gauge for cross-cutting.

4. Push sticks, feather boards, hold-downs, etc. must be used whenever an operation is performed that would require the operator's hands to pass within 6 inches of the saw blade.

5. When boards over 3 feet in any dimension are cut, a helper should be used to assist in supporting the work.

6. Blade height should be set so that the top of the teeth extend no more than 1/4 inch above the wood.

7. The operator should stand to the side of the wood while it is being fed through the saw.

8. After completing work, the saw blade should be lowered below the table.

9. A two foot perimeter around the saw should be kept clear of debris and sawdust.

10. When changing the blade or servicing the saw, the power disconnect must be locked in the "off" position. For saws with a cord and plug, the saw must be unplugged. The saw must be tested after disconnecting power and before beginning service.

11. Wobble blades are not permitted on table saws.

Reference: Cal Poly Code of Safe Table Saw Practice, David Ragsdale, Environmental Health & Safety Manager, Cal Poly Risk Management.

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