Essential Table Saw Safety Tips

Dec 04, 2018

Since the table saw is one of the most common and dangerous machines in a workshop, it should be approached with maximum caution. Many injuries result from carelessness and lack of preparation for the job. Every woodworker should wear the proper gear in a well-ventilated area to ensure safety. Here are some key tips to help protect yourself when using a table saw.

Table Saw Setup

Reading the manual about table saw safety is necessary to operating the equipment properly. Be aware of the machine's limitations and dangers, particularly when it comes to kicking back wood at you. Be sure to take advantage of safety features such as blade guards, prawls, and splitters.

The work area needs to be as clean as possible, which includes the tabletop, the floor, and the air. Too much debris on the table will inhibit your work and could lead to distractions that cause injuries. Dust on the floor can cause a worker to slip, while dust in the air introduces unhealthy respiratory issues. So make sure the work area is clean before and after cutting. Take time to clear away debris during cutting when necessary. 

Prior to starting a power tool, inspect the machine for any potential problems. Make sure all the safety features are set correctly, including the saw blade guard. Place an outfeed table to catch falling stock so that it doesn't create a big mess. When stock has a place to go besides a crowded stack, it's easier and safer to cut. Check the blade and make sure it's in good enough condition or adjusted correctly to handle the project.

Never start the machine until you're absolutely ready. The blade spins freely without touching stock before you turn the power on. When the blade is in motion do not attempt to reach over it or make blade adjustments. Always wait for the blade to come to a complete stop before making any type of adjustments. Make sure the tabletop is smooth while the blade is clean and sharp. 

Safety Gear

Legitimate workshops follow OSHA safety guidelines and take extra precautions to ensure that workers don't drift away from best practices. The object is not to fear a table saw blade, but rather to be confident you're using it properly. Wear eye protection to avoid flying sawdust, as well as any other face protection to avoid breathing in small particles. Use ear protection on loud machines.

While it's smart to wear gloves for certain power tools, it's safer to avoid them when operating a table saw. You certainly don't want to wear loose gloves, which can cause accidents. Don't wear a tie or other extensions that can come in contact with the blade. If you have long hair, tie it back behind you so that it doesn't hang in your face or get tangled up in your work.

Other Table Saw Safety Tips

  • always be prepared for kickback
  • check stock for nails or other objects that might impede cutting
  • use a push stick instead of your hand to guide the stock
  • move the stock alongside the fence for support
  • stand with good posture away from the blade
  • use the miter gauge for crosscuts
  • avoid awkward or shaky cuts
  • when work is complete, lower the blade below the table


Paying attention and taking your time are important keys to protecting your body and health when using a table saw. For more information about table saw safety, contact Echols Saw and Supply at 602-278-3918. We want to make your cutting environment as safe as possible so that you can concentrate on your productivity.