Safe Operation of Portable Circular Power Saws

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training


To be able to safely use power saws, and to prevent accidents.

Trainer's Note:

Hold this session in the shop. Discuss the hazards involved with using power saws and how these hazards can be avoided. Ask the workers why the hazards associated with power saws are often overlooked.


Keep the Work Area Safe:

  • Keep extension cords out of water.
  • Keep work area free of clutter and debris.
  • Use proper lighting.
  • Have adequate ventilation.
Saws In Safe Working Condition Have:
  • Sharp blades.
  • A three conductor plug, unless it is double insulated.
  • A properly functioning rubber coated extension cords without cuts, tears or breaks in the outer coating.
  • Properly functioning guards should enclose the portion of the blade above and below the material being cut.
Portable power saw guards should be able to move freely and should almost totally enclose the blade except when a cut is being made. Then the guard should rotate to allow the blade to be exposed while making the cut. However, the portion of the blade extending below the material being cut will not be covered by a guard. The depth of the cut should be adjusted to limit the amount of blade extending through the material being cut to 1/2" or less.

Follow Safe Work Practices:
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Replace dull or burned saw blades.
  • Lift the saw from the cut after the blade stops.
  • Carry the saw by the handle and use the handle to raise or lower the saw.
  • Use the correct blade for the cut intended.
  • Disconnect power before cleaning the saw, changing blades, or making adjustments.
  • Use power hand saws appropriately.
  • Place materials on a firm surface for cutting (not on hands, arms, across the knees or feet).
  • Cut the materials beyond the end of a support so that the waste falls clear.
  • Adjust the blade depth to limit the amount of blade exposed below the material being cut to 1/2" or less.
Review the Following Points
  • Keep work areas clean and free of clutter.
  • Always wear goggles or other eye protection.
  • Use the correct blade.
  • Carry the saw by the handle and keep fingers off the trigger switch.
  • Make sure power saws are grounded with a three prong conductor plug.
  • Replace all damaged parts and cords.
  • Make sure guards are in place and functioning.
Safe Operation of Portable Circular Power Saws Quiz

True or False

1. Eye protection is not necessary when using a power saw.
2. If an extension cord is damaged it should be replaced immediately.
3. Carry the saw by the handle and not with a finger on the switch trigger.
4. One blade can be used for all saw cuts.
5. Never use an arm or leg as a saw horse.

Answer Key
1. F, 2. T, 3. T, 4. F, 5. T

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