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Circular Saw Safety Tips

Circular saws are great tools if operated safely

At 5,500 revolutions per minute, circular saws are quite possibly the most dangerous handheld tool for woodworkers. But just following some simple, common sense safety guidelines and training, can cut the odds of having a serious accident way down.

Before Your First Use:

  • Have the right safety equipment
    • Hearing protection to protect against hearing loss.
    • You only have one pair of eyes. Protect them from flying wood chips and splinters with safety glasses.
    • Make sure the RPM rating of the blade is ABOVE the saw RPM
    • Loose clothing, jewelry and hair can get caught and pulled into the saw. Wear appropriate clothing.
    • Use a GFCI outlet when using your saw outside, wet or in damp areas.
  • First time use of a circular saw should be done with an experience operator showing you the correct way to use it. YouTube can give you pointers but it’s not like having someone at your side to personally guide you and stop you from doing anything that can be dangerous.

Used / Second Hand Saws:

  • If you have bought the saw secondhand or someone has given a used one to you, follow these rules of inspection and correct any problems before use.
    • Inspect the saw for any damage, cracks and dents before use to make sure they don’t compromise the safety or operation of the saw.
    • Check the power cord for fraying, cracking, faults in the cord insulation or any other signs of wear.
    • Check all switches for damage or for faulty trigger locks
    • Never use a saw that vibrates or appears unsafe in any way.

Common Sense

  • Maybe you know all these things. If that’s the case read these as a reminder. If you are new to circular saws these may be things you just don’t think about. You just don’t turn on the saw and cut the wood. It’s not that simple.
    • Make sure you keep proper balance and footing. Never overreach.
    • Set the blade as cutting depth as shallow as possible and avoid having the blade protrude much below the wood stock being cut.
    • Never try and change the cut or check alignment of the saw by twisting it during cutting.
    • Don’t force the saw when cutting. It will surely kick back.
    • Check materials looking for nails, screws, bolts or any other obstructions.
    • A wedge guide clamp nailed to the stock should always be used when ripping stock.
    • Keep your hands from under the shoe or guard of the saw.
    • Never hold or force the retracting lower guard in the open position.
    • Avoid over tightening the blade-locking nut.
    • Wait until the saw stops before putting it down.
    • When carrying the saw do not keep your finger on the trigger switch.
    • Unplug the saw before you change blades.
    • Never – ever put a wedge of wood under the guard to keep it in an open position.

Enjoy your circular saw – but be sure to respect it!

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