February 6, 2023

Table saw safety checklist

Why you need a table saw safety checklists

Table saws can be dangerous if not aware of the safety procedures to follow. Accidents happen when you do not know how to avoid faults and the tool. The safety checklist on the table saw aims to address all the safety issues that may arise when using the table saw. Follow the tips as you go through a checklist. You can even go as far as sticking it on your wall until it sticks to your head. That way, you will use your table saw safely. 

The safety checklist verifies that you understand the dangers of the table saw and equipment you are using. Safety training and procedures indicate the importance of machine safeguarding. It may help draft your shop’s safety precautions.

The checklist is there to emphasize focus and concentration when sawing. Usage of dangerous equipment needs concentration on your projects and knowing where your hands and the machine guard are at all times requires awareness. Ensure that the work area is clear of distractions that may cause an accident. 

The checklist keeps you updated with the latest saw safety technology. For example, push blocks or push pads are much safer than push sticks because they help you better control the wood. 

Table saw safety basics.

  • Use safety features.
  • Install the blade guard.
  • Make sure you have a balanced standing.
  • Keep yourself away from the blade. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings. 

Table saw safety and operation test.

  • Remove clothing such as ties, coats, and long sleeves when operating the table saw and take them away.
  • Rings, gloves, and bracelets should be off when operating the table saw. 
  • Check cracks and missing teeth from the blade before you start operating the table saw. 
  • Do not overreach when feeding material through the saw.
  • Before leaving the table saw, ensure the blade has stopped turning.

Table saw safety features

Miter gauge and fence

Support your workpiece by holding it securely to the miter gauge, and run it alongside the fence. Once that piece is cut, the cut-off side will sit between the blade and the saw fence.

Stop block/Push blocks

Use a stop block with your miter gauge and fence to keep your saw from becoming a projectile. For safety, no part of your body should be near the table saw blade, including all fingers, hands, and arms, especially when the blade is spinning. If fingers or hands come near the saw blade, unplug the saw first. Push blocks keep your body from the saw blade.

Blade guard

Blade guards are great safety features that remind you of the spinning blade while in the heat of the cut. They allow the stock to get through the cutting line without exposing the saw blade.

Kickback pawls

The riving knife prevents kickbacks, but you get even more benefits from using the kickback pawls. If the stock crosses the teeth coming up the table and begins to lift, the kickback pawls grab it and help keep it in place. It prevents you from damaging your workpiece.

Riving knife

A riving knife acts as a splitter but moves with the blade as it is raised, and lowered. The splitter remains stationary as the saw blade is raised and lowered. However, as the saw blade is lowered, the gap between the splitter and blade increases, and therefore increases the chance that a piece of stock gets in between them. That is why the riving knife is superior to the splitter.

10 table saw safety rules

  1.  Never saw freehand.
  2. Never adjust the saw or setup while the saw is running. Switch off and make sure it is locked and the blade is not moving.
  3. Do not overreach. You might hurt yourself.
  4. Never use miter gauge and fence at the same time. 
  5. Do not reach across the blade. 
  6. Never remove the guard unless authorized by the Technician or WRL Manager. 
  7. Any operation other than a standard crosscut, miter, or rip cut must be approved by the supervisor, including any blade changes. 
  8. Never run material other than wood products through the saw unless authorized by the supervisor. 
  9. Use safety glasses and ear protection.
  10. If the machine is malfunctioning, stop immediately and report to a supervisor. 

Table saw safety test

  • Before beginning any table saw the task, always check the safety features. Make sure they are set and functioning. The saw blade guard, riving knife, and anti-kickback pawls are some features that protect the woodworker and should be adjusted properly before the power is on. Knowledge of these features is required.
  • Use tables and stands when necessary. When cutting large pieces of stock, such as a full sheet of plywood, position an outfeed table or stand to help support the stock. These will make the pieces more stable and the cut easier to complete.
  • Before changing the blade or adjusting the table saw, always disconnect the power. 
  • When preparing to start the saw, ensure that the blade is spinning and not engaged in the stock. 
  • When standing at the table saw, the woodworker should maintain a solid stance with a wide base to keep a good balance. Your standing position helps you escape kickbacks.

Table saw safety checklist/

  • Set the table up the level to avoid vibration during use.
  • Keep the power cord for the table saw free of breaks or other damage.
  • Make sure the saw blade is suitable for the materials.
  • The saw blade should be at the same or greater RPMs as the saw.
  • The saw blade in use should be suitable for the type of cut.
  • The saw blade should be free of chips, loose or missing teeth, warps, burn marks, damage, or deterioration.
  • For ripping operations anti-kickback fingers should be installed to prevent the wood from kicking back toward the operator if the saw blade gets bound.
  • Install a spreader to prevent the wood from closing on the saw blade.
  • Install and adjust guards to cover the upper blade and to prevent contact with the lower portion of the saw blade.
  • The saw operator should protect equipment like safety glasses, face shields, hearing protection, and gloves.
  • Provide a push stick for the saw operator to feed the wood to prevent their hands from getting too close to the saw blade.
David D. Hughes

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