The Drill Down Guide To Table Saw Safety

If you've been following our new series with The Sorry Girls, you know that if you want to do any of these projects, you're going to get your hands dirty. However, if you want to get your hands dirty, you have to make sure you're doing it the right way. Before you get started on any project using power tools, here are a few safety tips you'll need to read over to make sure you're being safe!

  1. Wear safety glasses, goggles or a face shield creating your masterpiece and using the saw.
  2. Any cutting or drilling will create saw dust, so make sure that you wear a dust mask. If the cutting operation is dusty, wear a dust mask.
  3. Let your mani take centerstage – no gloves required when using the table saw.
  4. Save your cute dangling jewelry and loose fitting clothes for another day – they can create a hazard when working with the table saw!
  5. Throw on your chic (non-slip) fashion kicks for a sturdy stance. Posture is key when using a table saw! Make sure to stand firmly on the floor and avoid any awkward operations, to avoid falling into the blade by slipping or losing your balance.
  6. Some stock can be really small to cut on a table saw and are dangerous to push through a table saw. Make sure to use a push stick to cut stock that is 150 cm or less in width.
  7. When you are cross-cutting short lengths on a table saw, make sure that you use a stop block.
  8. Stand perpendicular to the blade to avoid flying sawdust and woodchips.
  9. The height of the blade on your table saw should be set just slightly higher than the stock being cut. It should never be more than 6mm above the height of the stock.
  10. Do not carry on a conversation while cutting. Pay attention to the work being performed!
  11. Do not reach behind or over the blade unless it has stopped turning.
  12. Do not leave the saw until the blade has come to a complete stop.
  13. Before switching blades or performing maintenance on your blade, unplug it!
  14. Make sure that the blade has stopped turning before you adjust the table saw.
  15. After any adjustment, make sure that the blade is free before you turn on the power.
  16. Ensure that the guides are positioned properly and that the tabletop is smooth and polished. An unclean or rough table requires you to use more force to push the stock through the blade. The more force that you are required to use the higher the chance that you may slip or lose your balance.
  17. Maintain the rip fence parallel to the blade so the stock will not bind on the blade and be thrown.
  18. Check the throat plate to ensure that it fits exactly and has a slot just slightly larger that the blade. Never operate a table saw with the throat plate removed.
  19. Do not make free-hand cuts on the table saw. The stock must be guided through the blade either by the rip fence or the mitre gauge.
  20. Keep the blades’ guards, spreaders and anti-kickback devices in place and operating properly. The spreader must be in alignment with the blade and the anti-kickback device must be in place and operating properly. Their action must be checked before cutting. Never use a blade thinner than the spreaders.
  21. Remember to only use seasoned, dry, flat wood for this and any other DIY projects involving a table saw!
  22. Work should be released only when it has gone past the blade. Whenever the stock is lifted or tilted above the surface of the table, the saw can shake the stock, causing you to lose your grip. Losing your grip on a piece means that your hand can slip toward the saw blade or the work can be forcefully kicked back towards you.
  23. Check that the stock has no nails, knots screw, stones etc. in it prior to cutting into the wood. These items can become projectiles and cause injury.
  24. Do not use the fence and a mitre gauge at the same time, unless they are both on the same side of the blade.
  25. The fence must not be adjusted while the saw is running.
  26. While long stock is sometimes crosscut on a table saw, it is not a good practice. The long stock may interfere with other operations and may be a hazard to other workers or equipment. It is also difficult to support and is better cut on a mitre saw.

These are just a few of the most important rules to keep in mind when using a table saw. For more safety tips, make sure to read all the safety information guidelines for specific tools here from the Power Tool Institute!