Wood Shop Safety 101

Saw Safety

  1. Wear safety glasses, goggles or a face shield at all times while using the saw.
  2. If the cutting operation is dusty, wear a dust mask.
  3. Do not wear gloves while operating a saw.
  4. Avoid long sleeves, ties, dangling jewelry or any other loose fitting clothing while operating a table saw. The clothing could get caught in the blade.
  5. Wear non-slip footwear.
  6. Use a push stick to cut stock that is 150 cm or less in width.
  7. Use a stop block when you crosscut short lengths.
  8. Position your body so that it is NOT in line with the blade. This is to avoid being injured by flying sawdust, wood chips or the work.
  9. The height of the blade should be set just slightly higher than the stock being cut. It should never be more than 6mm above the height of the stock. This is to ensure that if your hand slips you only receive a slight cut and do not lose a limb.
  10. Always stand firmly on the floor and avoid any awkward operations. This is to avoid falling into the blade by slipping or losing your balance.
  11. Do not carry on a conversation while cutting. Pay attention to the work being performed.
  12. Do not reach behind or over the blade unless it has stopped turning.
  13. Do not leave the saw until the blade has come to a complete stop.
  14. Always disconnect the power prior to changing the blade or performing any other maintenance operation.
  15. Make sure that the blade has stopped turning before you adjust the saw.
  16. After any adjustment, make sure that the blade is free before you turn on the power.
  17. Ensure that the guides are positioned properly and that the tabletop is smooth and polished. An unclean or rough table requires you to use more force to push the stock through the blade. The more force that you are required to use the more chance that you may slip or lose your balance.
  18. Maintain the rip fence parallel to the blade so the stock will not bind on the blade and be thrown.
  19. Check the throat plate to ensure that it fits exactly and has a slot just slightly larger than the blade. Never operate a table saw with the throat plate removed
  20. Do not make free-hand cuts on the table saw. The stock must be guided through the blade either by the rip fence or the mitre gauge.
  21. Keep the blades' guards, spreaders and antikickback devices in place and operating properly. The spreader must be in alignment with the blade and the antikickback device must be in place and operating properly. Their action must be checked before cutting.
  22. Only seasoned, dry, flat wood should be cut.
  23. Work should be released only when it has gone past the blade.
    • Whenever the stock is lifted or tilted above the surface of the table, the saw can shake the stock, causing you to lose your grip.
    • Losing your grip on a piece means that your hand can slip toward the saw blade or the work can be forcefully kicked back towards you.
  24. Check that the stock has no nails, knots, screws, stones etc. in it prior to cutting into the wood. These items can become projectiles and cause injury.
  25. Do not use the fence and a mitre gauge at the same time, unless they are both on the same side of the fence.
  26. A circular table saw should be guarded with a hood (crown guard) that completely covers the blade projecting above the table. The guard should ride the thickness of the stock being cut, adjusting to the thickness of the stock.
  27. The fence must not be adjusted while the saw is running.
  28. While long stock is sometimes crosscut on a table saw, it is not good practice. The long stock may interfere with other operations and may be a hazard to other workers or equipment. It is also difficult to support and is better cut on a swing saw, pull saw or radial arm saw.


This video contains graphic material.

Wood Shop Safety 101 Quiz

To use the Wood Shop Tools you must first complete the Wood Shop Safety 101 Quiz and the Code of Conduct and Safety quiz.

Take the Wood Shop Safety 101 Quiz

You must also take a hands on class, meet with a Makerspace Technician for scheduling.

You need a score of 100% to pass and can take the quiz multiple times

Comment Wall

You need to be a member of FCFI Community to add comments!

Join FCFI Community

Comments are closed.