Table saws are one of the most widely used machines among woodworkers. Despite its many uses and benefits, it is also one of the most dangerous and injury-prone machines ever invented. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop using a table saw when trying to create something extraordinary out of wood. The truth is it’s all about taking proper precautions to reduce the possibility of injury.
- Wear the appropriate safety equipment. In fact, this should be mandatory. Before you work, make sure to wear the appropriate gear such as safety glasses, goggles or a face shield, a hearing protection and proper clothing. No long sleeves, ties, loose fitting clothes or other “dangling” accessories in the work area.Non-slip footwear is also a must.
- Keep the work area clean and organized. Before you use the table saw, make sure to remove any stock, cutoffs and excess sawdust. It may seem harmless but these “little things” can impair your ability to make safe and clean cuts.
- Always check the safety features. Safety features are a MUST before you buy a table saw. Without this, consider moving on to the next option. This is particularly important because you need to make sure that all safety features are working properly and adjust anything that needs to be adjusted before turning the power on.
- Check the stock for any foreign objects. Aside from the safety features, it is also important to check the wood being cut for any foreign objects such as screws, nails and the like. It can be a dangerous projectile when it comes in contact with a spinning blade.
- Always maintain a good position when working. A good solid stance is important to keep your balance while working. At the same time, don’t stay in front of the blade. You’ll never know if it’s having a bad day and there is a higher possibility it will slide past your midsection when you stand directly in front of it.
- Use outfeed tables or stands whenever appropriate. This is particularly important when cutting large pieces of wood. Having an outfeed table or stand offers support to the stock to make the pieces more stable and easier to cut.
- Do not make any free-hand cuts.Never attempt a free-hand cut when using the table saw. Always use the rip fence or miter gauge to guide the stock. However, these two should never be used together unless they are both on the same side of the fence.
- Work should only be released when it has gone past the blade. If the stock is tilted or lifted above the surface, the saw can shake the stock and cause you to lose your grip. In case it happens, either your hand will slip toward the saw blade or the work will be forcefully kicked back to you.
- Always disconnect the power. This will minimize any injuries in case you’re done with your work. Consequently, always make sure to turn the power off if you are changing the blade or making any internal adjustments on the table saw to eliminate possible risks.
- Clean the area.You don’t want any excess wood, blades, nails, screws and other injury-causing sharp objects lying around, do you? Plus, it can be pretty dusty so make sure you get rid of those too, especially when you are living with someone who has respiration issues.
Remember, safety first above anything else.