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Cut Off Saw Safety

Every utility construction company has specific tools to use in doing the job. Cut Off Saws are the one standard tool that comes to mind. Using one safely is the priority of every person using this type of equipment. Cut Off Saws come with a safety manual. Most of us can count on one hand the number of people who have ever read the complete manual. More often than not field training takes the place of the manual but field training is supposed to contain the safety specifics of Cut Off Saw use. Every company has had experiences where Cut Off Saws were used “Not as the manufacturer intended”, the result is most likely, horrific injuries to the operator.

The basics are pretty standard. Proper PPE includes gloves, steel toe boots, hard hat, face shield, safety glasses, and hearing protection. Read and follow all manufactures instructions. Use blades rated for the cut to be made. Fuel mix as described, inspect before use (every time the saw is used). Never alter any safety device. Dust reduction techniques must be in place. Do not carry the saw while the engine is running. Stop the engine before setting the Cut Off Saw down. How many of us remove the blade when transporting the saw in a truck or when putting it away? That’s a recommendation. Fueling includes never fueling a hot saw. Fuel on level ground. Never drop start a Cut Off Saw. Start the saw on level ground and be sure you have firm footing. If you are cutting in a confined area, carbon monoxide is a significant hazard. Avoid all instances where pinch points and kickbacks may be a hazard to the operator. Reactive forces may occur whenever the wheel is in motion. Any time the blade contacts an object the blade could slow or stop causing loss of control. Being aware of the type of material, the position of the blade, the possibility of a kink while cutting, are all possible reactive force initiators.

These are just a few of the suggestions taken from 50 pages of a Cut Off Saw safety manual. Cut Off Saw training should include references to the safety manual and should be mandatory for every person using one.

Jeffrey Blomgren

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