Updated On — 1st Dec, 2020
When you have a table saw, you will be able to achieve so many results in your woodwork projects. However, this is also a dangerous tool and you will need to be quite careful when you are using it so as to avoid danger. Distraction is one of the key causes of accidents when you using a table saw and as such, it is best to ensure that your focus is not affected when working with these tools.
In this guide, I will discuss some of the dangers that can be caused by a table saw and the safety measures to observe. Please read the whole article so that you can learn how to use the table saw safely.
Table of Contents
What Causes Kickbacks?
Studies on Table Saw Injuries
There over 40,000 injuries attributed to improper use of the table saw. The injuries will vary with some common ones being kickbacks, being caught by the blade or contact with the blade. The truth is, any type of injury from the tool can be quite painful. There are cases where there have been fatalities as a result of the table saw injuries. With this in mind, you ought to be careful and ensure that you are using the table saw in the best way possible.
Common Table Saw Dangers
Being an expert in the use of table saws, there are some dangers which I have established to be common, which include:
- Wearing loose clothing
There are quite a number of people who have been caught by the table saw as a result of buggy clothing or hanging accessories. As a safety measure, you need to ensure that you wear proper clothing and get rid of all loose accessories.
- Dull Blades
A blunt blade is another cause of a disaster when working with this tool. It is advisable to ensure that the blade is sharp. With a dull blade, you will have to apply a lot of force when cutting and this may cause kickbacks.
- The object on the Work Piece
There are common objects that may be on your stock like knots, staples, pins and event nails. When they are caught by the blade, they will be shot away like missiles and this can really cause significant injuries.
- Tripping and Falling
Falling is another common accident in the workshop. In most cases, when people are forced to push the work piece with a lot of force, this may cause them to fall. This may also be as a result of a wet and slippery work surface.
- Wet Stock
The worst mistake that you can ever make is to cut wet wood. This will easily slide and may cause the blade to come into contact with your flesh. This may also result in the damage of your blade.
What Safety Measures Should I Take?
It goes without saying that table saw bring a whole lot of convenience. However, I have also highlighted some of the possible dangers that you may suffer from this tool. Here are some safety measures to take:
- Protect your eyes: Have your eyes protected at any point that you are using the table saw. You can choose to wear safety goggles or even a face mask to keep away the wood chips and sawdust.
- Protect Feet: Since we have seen that falling is one of the dangers when using a table saw, ensure that you have non-slip shoes to protect your feet. This will also give you a proper balance.
- Stay Away from the Table Saw: Never stand directly in front of the table saw. This a proper precaution as there may be projectiles flying and if you are in their way, this could be disastrous.
- Dress Properly: Always avoid buggy clothing or any accessories that are loose and hanging. These can easily be caught by the table saw and will drag you towards the blade.
- Set Blade at the Right Height: Ensure that you have the height of the blade correct. You do not want to set it too high or too low. Never have the blade higher than 6mm above the stock.
- Concentrate: This may sound like a simple rule, but as I mentioned earlier, distraction is one of the key causes of dangers of a table saw. Do not try to multitask when you have a task with your saw. Your full attention should be on the task and pause all the other activities.
Essential Table Saw Accessories to Avoid Dangers
There are quite a number of accessories that are meant to enhance the usefulness of a table saw. These accessories will not only make the saw effective but will also improve your safety. Here are my top picks that you must have:
- Push Block Devices
In the operation of the table saw, guiding the stock through the blade is one of the most critical tasks. With the push block devices, this spares you the trouble of having to use your bare hands. Some of the common push devices are push sticks, push blocks and push shoes.
- Dust Mask
When you have a good dust mask, you will not only cover your eyes but the entire face. This prevents dust inhalation and as such, your internal organs will be well protected.
- Blade Guard
This is critical as it covers the blade such that if there is an accidental fall, you will not come into contact with the table saw blade.
- Emergency Switch
An emergency switch is a very crucial feature as it can be used to stop the tool, in case of an emergency. Ensure that it is easy to access and visible.
Who Must Never Use a Table Saw?
With the proper application of the safety measures that we have discussed, you should be good to go with the table saw. However, there are some people who should never attempt to use the tool and some of them are:
Generally, kids are curious and will want to test several features of the saw. Do not allow them to use the table saw.
Novices can use the table saw, but they are more vulnerable to dangers associated with the tool. It is important to have an experienced persona guiding them when they need to use the saw until they can master it.
- Intoxicated People
Only use the table saw when you are sober and not under the influence of any toxic substance.
- Physical Inability
If you are physically incapacitated, you should refrain from using the table saw. This is a tool that requires one to have a firm grip on the workpiece.
With all the benefits of the table saw, it is best to have the right people use it. Some of these people should stay away from the table saw as it can cause serious injuries and fatalities.
Table Saw Safety Tips
There are a couple of safety tips that you should bear in mind when using the table saw. Besides the ones we have discussed above, here are more tips to keep you safe:
- Be sure to read and understand the instructions manual for the table saw.
- Do not wear gloves when using the table saw as this can cause you to lose the grip and the gloves can also be caught by the blade.
- Never reach over the blade while it is still spinning. For any adjustments, allow the blade to come to a complete halt.
- Never attempt to make any unconventional cuts.
- Use a stop block for cross cuts, over short lengths.
- Before attempting to make any adjustments disconnect the tool from the power source so as to prevent starting the table accidentally.
- Use a rip fence or a miter gauge to guide your workpiece and never use your free hands.
- Allow the saw blade to come to the top speed before bringing it to contact with the workpiece.
- Manage the dust and debris effectively and ensure that your work area is always clean and free of any clutter. This will enhance your visibility and safety.
- Inspect the stock for any foreign objects before you can start the cutting process.
- Check all the safety features and test them to ensure that they are working before you can start making cuts.
The table saw is a great tool to have, but it is also quite dangerous. Most of the accidents that are caused by the tool are as a result of carelessness and ignorance. You should take into account these safety measures that we have discussed in this article so as to use the saw safely. Whenever you are using this tool, you should be keen on your safety. Even when you have become an expert, always pay attention to the safety tips that we have highlighted. Please leave a comment and share this guide with your friends and loved ones so as to keep them safe when they are using a table saw.