Saws: hazard identification

Risk management strategy for saws.

The following table is a risk management strategy for saws.
  • Band saw
  • Panel circular saw
  • Beam saw
  • Cross cutting saw
  • Multi-cut saw
  • Bench circular saw

Risk management identifies hazards that can expose a worker to the risk of injury, and records the measures used to remove or reduce the level of risk.

Risk management strategy

Hazard identification

Risk factors

Risk control measures


Cutting, laceration

  • Operator reaches into the cutting area
  • Exposed section of blade
  • Premature start-up of the saw
  • Guards and riving knife are correctly installed, maintained and used
  • Where possible blades retract when not in use
  • Push stick is available and used to move the timber through the saw


Crushing from transmission driven or associated equipment

  • Access to internal area of machine
  • Potential jam requiring access for clearing
  • Timber falling from machine
  • Fixed guarding encloses all transmission and associated moving parts


Object being ‘thrown’ by the saw

  • Using wet or green timber
  • Work piece is lifted off the work table during cutting
  • Inspection process for selecting timber
  • Work piece is clamped in place before cutting
  • Ensure the cutters are sharp and clean with a regular maintenance program
  • Safety glasses are worn by the operator
  • Push stick is available and is used to move the timber through the saw


Manual handling

  • Variation in material size, shape, weight
  • Poor work height due to fixed height of work table
  • Provide a standing platform for the operator to work at a safe and comfortable height
  • Use conveyors to support long timber pieces
  • Break down the size of the materials to reduce weight
  • Store raw materials at appropriate height to remove the need for bending or twisting
  • Use a second person to guide work piece
  • Use materials handling equipment to eliminate the need to move materials manually


Slips, trips and falls

  • Obstructed or cluttered work area around the machine
  • Slippery and uneven floor surface
  • Maintain a clear work space in and around the machine
  • Provide non-slip floor surfaces that give a firm foothold


Airborne contaminants (e.g. dust and vapours)

  • High speed sanding
  • Ventilation/extraction system poorly maintained
  • Provide and maintain local exhaust ventilation
  • Wear protective personal equipment (PPE) such as face masks
  • Regularly vacuum dust and sawdust
  • Note: DO NOT use compressed air to remove dust from skin or clothing


Noise from machinery operation and production processes

  • Different woods creating varying noise levels when being processed
  • Various machines in the area operating simultaneously
  • Local acoustic dampening to reduce noise levels
  • Hearing protectors used by all people accessing the workshop
  • Warning signs displayed in the workshop

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