For an avid wood worker like you, you know that the table saw is generally your first and most commonly used piece of equipment in your shop. Did you know that it is also the most dangerous. Statistics show, the improper use of a table saw is the cause of most injuries and deaths in the work shops. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you cannot continue to use your table saw safely. By simply using proper safety combined with a little common sense, you can greatly reduce you chances of becoming another workshop statistic.
Always Wear Safety Gear
Seems like an easy thought I know. However, you’d be surprised at how many times I hear about someone loosing a finger or having permanent eye damage as a result of not being adequately prepared in the work shop. As a rule, when you are operating power tools, always wear the proper safety equipment. To start, you should never be anywhere in your work shop without wearing safety glasses and ear protection. Additionally, consider the clothing you are wearing as well. Things like neckties, jewelry and loose fitting clothes should be barred from your work shop. They all pose a serious threat to your safety and can be extremely dangerous when worn while operating a table saw.
Maintain a Clean Work Area
If you are making use of your table saw, you have to ensure your work space is free from the debris. Things like stock, cut offs and sawdust are things that must be completely out of your work area. Any of these things are likely to get in the way and impair your ability to perform safe and clean cuts. There are countless stories of a loose piece of stock becoming a dangerous projective because it connected with a moving blade. Consider anything in the area of your table saw to be a potential threat to the safety of you and everyone in your work shop and remove it at once.
Make sure Safety Features
Before beginning anything together with your table saw, make sure you are checking the safety features first. You must make absolutely certain that they are all set and properly functioning before beginning any tasks. Each safety feature is designed specifically with your safety in mind and should always be carefully adjusted before you turn the power on.
Never Free Cut
One of the most dangerous mistakes I hear about from other woodworkers is those who attempt a free-hand cut. Just don’t do it. One slip and the saw blade can be recklessly spinning out of control. Better yet, always use miter gauge or the fence to properly guide the stock. Be advised however that the miter gauge and fence should NOT be used together under any circumstances. What can happen is the stock’s end grain can bind against the fence causing real trouble.
Look for Foreign Objects
Before beginning any cut, you must check the wood for any loose objects. Things like a loose screw, nail or stable can be extremely dangerous. Any of these items can become a projective should it come in contact with the spinning blade. It’s best to have a metal detector since you can use it to check for any loose objects you might not catch at first. This is especially important when you are working with recycled material.
Remove Power Prior to Changing a Blade
Before you change a blade or make any adjustments on your table saw, make absolutely sure that the power has been disconnected. This eliminates the chances that the saw could be accidentally turned on while you are working on it. Should you not realize the power is on, you could be in very close proximity with a running blade which can result in extremely dangerous consequences.