OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
What should you do before start cutting with a circular saw?
- Wear safety glasses or goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles).
- Wear an approved respirator or dust mask when exposed to harmful or nuisance dusts.
- Use appropriate hearing protection equipment in noisy areas.
- Check the retracting lower blade guard to make certain it works freely.
- Ensure that the blade that you have selected is sharp enough to do the job. Sharp blades work better and are safer.
- Check the saw for proper blade rotation.
- Set the depth of the blade, while the saw is unplugged, and lock it at a depth so that the lowest tooth does not extend more than about 0.3 cm (1/8") beneath the wood.
- Keep all cords clear of cutting area.
- Circular saws are designed for right-hand operation; left-handed operation will demand more care to operate safely.
What should you do to work safely with a circular saw?
- Check the retracting lower blade guard frequently to make certain it works freely. It should enclose the teeth as completely as possible, and cover the unused portion of the blade when cutting.
- Check that the retracting lower blade guard has returned to its starting position before laying down the saw.
- Keep upper and retracting lower blade guard clean and free of sawdust.
- Disconnect power supply before adjusting or changing the blade.
- Allow the saw to reach full power before starting to cut.
- Use two hands to operate saws - one on a trigger switch and the other on a front knob handle.
- Keep motor free from accumulation of dust and chips.
- Select the correct blade for stock being cut and allow it to cut steadily. Do not force it.
- Secure stock being cut to avoid movement.
What should you avoid when cutting with a circular saw?
- Do not hold or force the retracting lower guard in the open position.
- Do not place hand under the shoe or guard of the saw.
- Do not over tighten the blade-locking nut.
- Do not twist the saw to change, cut or check alignment.
- Do not use a saw that vibrates or appears unsafe in any way.
- Do not force the saw during cutting.
- Do not cut materials without first checking for obstructions or other objects such as nails and screws.
- Do not carry the saw with a finger on the trigger switch.
- Do not overreach. Keep proper footing and balance.
- Do not rip stock without using a wedge or guide clamped or nailed to the stock.
Refer to Powered Hand Tools - Basic Safety for Electric Tools for general safety tips.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.