Whether you’re a professional carpenter or you’re a DIY fan, knowing how to safely handle equipment is essential. One of the main tools that sees a lot of incidents is the circular saw. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive states that circular saw benches are the machines that cause the most woodworking accidents.
This needn’t put you off using this type of saw for the job you’re working on. They can be very useful for things like cutting wood, sheet metal and other materials. If you follow the available safety guidance, they can be your go-to tool. It might be that you’re using one of these for the first time or it could be that you’ve not used one for a while. Whichever of these apply to you, it’s worth taking a look at these pointers to keep yourself safe.
- Prepare for the job
Do you have the correct safety equipment? Before you can begin the job, you’ll need to make sure you have protective goggles, thick gloves and ear protectors. It’s also worth investing in a pair of overalls to protect your clothing and to prevent any loose items from getting caught in the blade.
- Get used to the tool
Have you used the circular saw before? Even if you’ve used this type of saw in the past, every make and model is different, so you’ll need to take some time to get used to it. Check out the different features and settings so you can see what it offers and the type of cutting you can do.
Also, read the safety instructions that come with the model you’ve selected. Specialist suppliers such as SGS Engineering always provide notes with each tool, so check through the one that comes with your saw before you start any work.
- Know the blade you need
To make sure you choose the right blade, you’ll need to check the diameter that fits your saw; that the blade has an RPM rating that’s compatible with the saw; and that it fits the arbour (centre) hole.
There are lots of different types of blade available too and each is designed to suit a different job. For example, the combination blade is ideal for doing some rough wood cutting, while a continuous-rim is used for precision cutting materials such as slate. Take the time to browse the different types and find the one that matches the job you’re doing. Getting this right can avoid mistakes being made.
- Check the lighting
Can you see where you’re cutting? Make sure your work area id well lit and that you can see the markings that you measured out. If you lose sight of where you’re cutting, stop and reposition the light.
- Take your time
Take the time to carefully measure where you want to cut. When you’re satisfied with your measurements, make sure the material you want to cut is secured in place before you make a start. By doing this, you can avoid it slipping and causing any accidents once you begin.
Then, watch the blade rather than the marks you’ve made. As you cut, sawdust will mean you lose sight of the marks, so following the blade will help you steer where the saw goes. Also, make sure you have the saw set at the right depth. You’ll need to check this every time you make a cut.
These are the top five tips to help you begin working with a circular saw, but remember to check through the safety instructions that come with the saw thoroughly before you begin as each tool is different.