13 Jan Band Saw Safety
Band Saw Safety
Band saws use a powered and rotating continuous metal blade to make even and precise cuts on metal, wood, and other objects. Because the moving blade has cutting teeth, serious injury and even death can occur if you use a band saw incorrectly. This is why band saw safety is key.
Get training on safe band saw use. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always wear safety glasses when you use a band saw. They protect your sight in case pieces of stock fly off or the saw blade breaks and injures your eye. Tie back your hair, remove jewelry, and wear fitted clothing so that you do not get caught by or pulled into the moving blade.
Perform routine maintenance and inspections according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and before each use. Before you do any maintenance work, turn the band saw off and wait for it to come to complete stop. Use lockout/blockout to prevent accidental startups during your work. If the band saw needs repair, unplug it and take it out of service until it is safe to use.
During inspection and maintenance work, ensure that the blocks and wheels are adjusted properly and the blade is in good condition. Set blade tension within manufacturer standards. Ensure the blade is positioned properly on track. All guards should be in place before use.
When you use a band saw, adjust the blade guards to within 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the top of the material. A wider gap will place tension on the blade and increase the risk of breaking. Start up the band saw and let it come to full speed before you begin cutting. Keep the stock flat on the work surface; do not try to hold it in your hands. Keep hands at least 3 inches from the blade. Use stock pushers, miter gauges, jigs, and fences when you can for accuracy and safety.
When you cut curves in material, move the pieces slowly to avoid placing too much tension on the blade. If you need to “back out” of a cut, hold the material firmly in place and shut the machine down. Wait for the blade to stop completely to remove the piece. When you cut tight curves or angles, consider “relief” cuts on short sections of material at a time instead of one long cut that may stress the blade.
Know where your hands are at all times when you cut. Keep one hand on each side of the stock piece. Never reach across the blade or place your hands in the cut line. Do not try to pick up or flick away any loose scraps of material. Use the work piece itself or a push stick to remove the material from the work surface.
Work in a shop that has good lighting so that you can see the blade and your stock materials clearly. Stand firmly at the band saw to prevent accidentally tripping into the moving blade. Avoid distractions while you cut. Do not be distracted by other activity, engage in conversation, or horseplay while you are cutting. Never leave your band saw operating while unattended.