According to research, out of all woodworking equipment, the band saw machines are regarded as one of the safest. In fact, when it comes to cutting various angles and shapes, they are frequently regarded as the ultimate woodworking tool. However, if not used properly, this woodworking tool can also turn out to be dangerous. That is why band saw safety should always be taken very seriously whenever using a band saw. Any accident or mishap may cost you a body part, your eyes from trauma, or even your life if you end up severing an artery and are not able to control the bleeding. Fortunately, a band saw can be safely ensured, and traumatic injury can be prevented if the safety rules are strictly followed.
- Most importantly, the woodworking area of a band saw should be kept clean. A catastrophic accident may occur if the band saw has garbage, scrap wood, tools, wires, or anything else on the floor around it.
- It should be made sure that fitting or tight clothing as well as ear and eye protection are worn. Due to the significant speeds at which the blades of a band saw tend to rotate, they may end up propelling small pieces of stock in just about any direction. Worst of all, if one of those blades breaks, a broken piece that comes loose may also get propelled. Not wearing protective eye wear means taking the risk of losing eyesight if some propelled debris strikes the eyes at high speeds. Therefore, safety glasses should be worn always before using a band saw.
- All guards should be kept in place and they should have the correct length. Those guards are an essential barrier between the hands and the saw, so they should never be removed. Even if one of your hands slips, your hand will hit the guard instead of the saw. The blade will also remain stable because of the guards. It should be made sure that the blade guards are within 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch to the stock. If the blade guards are over 1/4-inch, not only will the band saw make less accurate cuts but an accident may also occur due to the increased exposure of the saw.
- It should be made sure that the stock remains flat and secure on the table. The stock should never be cut while holding it up. You will most likely end up feeding your hand into the saw because it will most likely slip when you try to cut material in the air. Unless you have a miter gauge, the use of round stock should be avoided as they may lead to an accident as a result of rolling up the blade.
- Whenever making cuts using a band saw, make sure that your hands are at least 3 inches away from the blade. If you place each of your hand on each side of the stock, you will be able to ease it through blade without much resistance. A hand should never be placed directly in the cut line, even if it is at a distance of 3 inches. If the stock needs to be held closer than 3 inches, then a push stick should be used for this purpose.
- The band saw should always be shut off when not using it anymore. A band saw should never be left unattended when it is turned on. Whether the on/off switch is on the left or the right, the corresponding hand should be used to turn it on and off.
- You may have noticed that whenever you are cutting a large piece of wood, very small pieces of stock are frequently cut off it. You should never use your fingers to try to flick these pieces away from the blade. The saw might end up chopping off one of your fingers or even your entire hand. A push stick or another piece of stock should be used, preferably after turning the saw off. This way, you can be certain that you will not hurt yourself. However, you will most likely not have to do this in most cases since the piece will be safely pushed away from the blade as the next cut is made. However, it has been pushed away, the piece should be pushed off of the table or it may jam into your cut.
- Distractions should be avoided as much as possible, whenever using woodworking machinery. Do not pay attention to anyone who attempts to interrupt you while you are cutting a material using a band saw. Do not divert your attention until you have finished the cut and turned off the saw safely. Always keep your eyes on the tool. A distraction, even for the smallest moment, is the most common reason behind injuries that occur when using woodworking machinery. It is likely that you may have people around you who may end up interrupting you while you are using your woodworking machinery. So, inform them not to distract you and wait for you to complete the cut, before expecting you to pay attention to them.
If you are a frequent user of a band saw, then make sure you follow the above basic steps because it will enable you to avoid accidents and stay safe.