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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Hand Tool Safety - Using a Portable Saw

Maralyn Kastel - Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pre-work checks:Always make sure that the floor area where you are working is clean and clear of any material (off-cuts) that could foul the saw power cable as you are making the cut.

The Plug

Do not:

  • Plug it in when not in usw
  •  Use if there is damage to the lead or plug


  • Follow work method statements for job tasks
  • Check the equipment regularly
  • Do a visual inspection - don't simply rely on the "test and tag"
  • Check the  test and tag is up to date 

Saw Blade
Check you have the right blade in the saw – the wrong one could break the blade or create a projectile.  Check the saw blade:

  1. Covers the entire blade when the saw is resting
  2. Slides open easily to allow it, when the saw is operating, to slide freely along the cutting surface and
  3. Springs back quickly (spring return) to cover the blade when the saw is lifted off the material being cut or when the cut is finished.

Blade guard
Check the blade guard is securely in place and working properly.

Cutting area
Check that the cutting table is secure and the item to cut is securely held in place. Cover your eyes and ears and always wear eye protection to stop debris getting in your eyes.


  1. Check the cord in not in the cutting area
  2. Anticipate the kickback and make sure you have a good hold of the saw before you start cutting
  3. Pllace both hands on the saw so you can control it well as you use it
  4. Adjust the cutting depth of the blade depending on the thickness of the material to be cut.

Make sure the saw is switched off immediately.  Unplug it and put it safely away. Remove debris and put waste in a proper container.  Practice good housekeeping to reduce the risks of accidents and manage risks in the workplace.

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