Any mechanical tool that has sharp edges and runs on electrical/motor power always involves a certain degree of risk and hazards for workers with any skill level. While band saws aren’t new to wood/metal workers, not everyone are well aware of the rules and tools that help them stay safe. If you’re just being curious about band saw or its safety matters or just trying to get the hang of safe woodworking with the saw, this article is for you as I’ll be talking about the rules, equipment, prerequisites and more. Let’s start!
Before you move on to the details, you want to know what it does, so you can determine what level of safety is required.
- Well, a band saw is widely used for cutting curves and irregular shapes.
- Some also use it for ripping lumber and simple resawing purposes.
Let’s get to the depth of the uses to know the gravity of the ‘safety’ thing and why you should even be serious about it.
What Does a Band Saw Do?
It is one of the widely used carpentry tools. The carpenter can cut precise designs with this machine. One can easily make out the structure of a classic band saw. It has a long blade and the structure of this blade is similar to a wheel or ribbon. Since it constantly rotates, you get a picture in your mind of a moving cassette.
The saw is used for creating intricate and precise cuts. A carpenter can benefit a lot from this mean machine as it is efficient and creates intricate cuts. It is also used in lumber working and metal cutting.
A band saw is used in metal cutting, woodworking, meat cutting, metal fabrication stores/shops, light and residential industry and more. You will find medium and small-sized band saws in the light and residential industries. These are used for cutting plastic, metal, and wood. Portable cordless models are also being used by carpenters and workers, who have to travel to another city or keep moving from one place to another. Even timber mills use band saws for cutting timber. In a nutshell, band saws are useful machines. Hold that thought!
Despite the varied applications of these tools, you have to understand the associated hazards.
An Overview of the Associated Hazards
When you are working in a factory setting or in someone’s home, it is possible that you will get distracted by the people around you. Someone calls out your name while you are working, you look back and an accident happens!
- The major hazard is the contact with the blade. The sharp teeth can cut open your skin and worse can happen. Let us say that the worker is not being able to focus and he starts looking elsewhere. It is possible that his hand can come in contact with the sharp blade. This will cause amputation and cutting.
- The second threat is dust. When you are cutting wood or metal, the dust flies around and can enter your eyes. What if the wood dust goes into your eyes? This will cause redness and since the eyes are the most delicate part of our body, it can get damaged for a lifetime.
- The dust can also cause breathing issues. Our intention is not to scare you, but to prepare you. As a wise worker, you need to focus on avoiding these mishaps. Different respiratory diseases like lung cancer, breathing problems, and even eye infections are common. This is happening because people do not take the necessary precautions for avoiding these accidents.
- Another hazard that comes to our mind is the heavy lifting part. When the worker is lifting a heavy machine, it can cause fatigue. Although there are portable band saws, some workers do not have the luxury to work with a portable device.
Band Saw Safety Rules
Accidents are waiting to happen! What can you do? You can be a responsible, wise and careful worker. Cuts, amputation, dust going inside your eyes or causing breathing problems is avoidable. All you need to do is follow the basic band saw safety procedures.
Firstly, ensure that you have worn gloves and protected your eyes. These are the two band saw safety equipment that you must have. This will save your eyes from dust getting into them. Also, it is possible that the dust will enter your nostrils. Some people are allergic to dust and in this case, you may want to wear a mask over your nose.
To be free and safe from deep cuts, you need to be extra careful. As a whole, you need to remember that your fingers should be 3 inches away from the blade. Additionally, the worker should ensure that they are not wearing ill-fitted or loose clothing as this could be the cause of accidents.
There are some basic safety standards, tools, and outfits which you need to follow. Let us take a quick look at those prerequisites.
1. Safety Standards, Tools, and Outfit
Following the basic band saw safety standards, tools and outfits allow you to maintain proximity from accidents.
– Firstly, you must ensure that you are wearing the following outfit items: gloves, long trousers, fitted shirt, boots, leg protector, helmet and goggles. The eye protecting goggles are necessary and you must ensure that no ill-fitting clothing is worn during operation hours. This could get stuck in the band saw and an avoidable accident can happen. You can wear a mask to avoid the health effects of wood dust.
– Secondly, ensure that all the guards are in the proper place. The band wheels should be enclosed. The most important aspect is that the blade should track properly.
– Thirdly, use tools such as a push stick to remove any cut pieces. Never use your hand because that could lead to an injury or the loss of your finger. This is a painful thought, but you need to be careful about using the machine. The blade is sharp and accidents can be major and deadly!
2. Before the Band Saw Operation
Your mind thinks – How to use a band saw safely? Before you start using the equipment, make sure you follow these points as your bible:
- First and foremost, plan the cuts you want to make. Marking the wood would be a wise move! This will help you to work in a structured way without getting any cuts or bruises.
- Do not wear clothing that doesn’t fit well with your body.
- Remove jewelry, tie your hair and discard any accessories on you.
- Safety glasses should be worn at all times. Make sure that you have your safety glasses on before the operation.
- Distraction is a big NO! You can let the members/workers know that you need undivided attention.
3. During the Operation
When you are using the band saw, it is best to follow certain rules.
- Wait for the band saw to reach the maximum speed before you make cuts.
- Keep your fingers three inches away from the blade.
- When you are not using the machine, keep your hands on the side of the table. Avoid close contact.
- Concentration is most important in such cases. Do not get distracted by the people around you. You can give them a fair warning that you need your space to work. In case it is a tough situation, do not lose focus.
- When the band saw is on, do not try to remove chips or cut pieces near or under the blade guide.
- If you wish to make any adjustments, turn off the band saw and let it stop completely before you do anything.
4. After the Operation
Band saw safety is a must and it does not require you to have an excellent IQ or sharp skills. You just need to understand the basic band saw safety rules.
Once you have finished working with the band saw, you must follow these simple rules.
- Turn off the band saw and be at the site till it completely stops moving.
- Do not use the saw once it has been turned off.
- After you have finished the task, clean your station and the area around the band saw. Pick up the scraps and wood chips.
We hope that this post helped you to become aware of band saw safety rules, tools, and other prerequisites. Lastly, we would just like to give a gentle reminder about keeping the station and surroundings clean. After the operation, make sure that the area is clutter-free.
Be safe while handling the machine and follow all the pointers that we have given. As a worker, your life and each body part is precious. Workers need to be extra careful about what they are handling. Your body is fit and healthy which is why you are working and earning every penny. It takes hard work and years of dedication. To keep your body fit and kicking, ensure that all safety rules are followed.