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Adequate Protection When Working With a Table Saw

Abogado Christopher J. Gorayeb

Working with a table saw is an essential aspect of construction sites. The power and cutting depth of table saws make them one of the most useful tools for quick and efficient work on various types of wood, and they can even handle materials like metal, plastic, or aluminum.

Carpenters and cabinet makers use them regularly in their daily tasks. A table saw can also be referred to by different names, such as:

  • Industrial bench saw
  • Circular saw
  • Table circular saw
  • Table saw for wood
  • Craftsman table saw
  • Miter saw (which has a variation in the saw’s features for making more precise cuts)

Due to its practicality and the ability to be used individually, the table saw is one of the most popular construction tools. However, being equipped with a circular saw operated by an electric motor makes it one of the most dangerous as well and workers must take sawing machine precautions.

Among the risks of using a table saw are various types of severe injuries, such as:

  • Deep lacerations to the hand and forearm: the sharp blades of the table saw can inflict profound wounds, potentially compromising both dexterity and functionality.
  • Loss of fingers: an outcome that not only inflicts immediate physical trauma but also carries consequences for the worker’s capacity to perform daily tasks and maintain their jobs.
  • Burns: the motor-driven blades generate intense heat, and any inadvertent contact can result in severe burns, adding a layer of complexity to the array of potential injuries.
  • Cuts in various parts of the body (if the worker loses control of the saw and it falls on them, it can cause serious injuries to sensitive areas of the body, such as the neck, thighs, legs, or chest, which may lead to limb amputation or life-threatening situations).

As workers engage with this tool, a comprehensive understanding of the potential injuries becomes essential, which ensures a commitment to implement and update the correct safety protocols and that workers use protective equipment.

It is essential to continue training the workers with the knowledge and skills necessary to mitigate these dangers effectively. To prevent construction accidents, here are some of the main safety rules for the table saw.

Safety Rules for the Table Saw

Table Saw Safety Rules:

  1. Frame:
    When the table saw blade is exposed, there is an automatic mechanism to cover the saw blade with a protective frame, preventing accidental contact with the blade while it is spinning.
  2. External Knife Guard:
    This is a cover placed on the blade facing the worker, preventing the risks of lateral contact. At the same time, it guides the operation of the blade, ensuring that the edges of the cuts remain separated as they are executed.

In addition to these internal tool elements, there is personal protective equipment to mitigate risks when using a circular saw, consisting of three essential elements:

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  1. Safety Face Shield:
    It aims to protect the face, particularly the eye area. By encompassing the entire facial region, it provides comprehensive coverage, ensuring the well-being of workers by avoiding potential injuries that may come from airborne debris, wood fragments, or other materials ejected during the cutting process.
  2. Gloves:
    Using thick gloves, known as “cut-resistant,” while handling the table saw. Engineered with materials that offer enhanced resistance to the sharp edges of the saw blade, these gloves contribute significantly to the worker’s overall safety, ensuring a secure grip and minimizing the possibility of hand-related injuries during the intricacies of table saw operations.
  3. Ear Protection:
    When using a table saw, it can generate a lot of noise, especially when cutting particularly hard materials. To prevent injuries to the internal ear canals, it is necessary to use ear protection. Employing earmuffs or earplugs becomes necessary to mitigate the risk of hearing damage and maintain the auditory well-being of workers.

The first step in reducing the risks of a table saw is to be familiar with the safe practices with table saws and use all these protective equipment. The second step is to be aware of the following table saw safety rules to handle it correctly:

  • Read the user manual carefully and follow all instructions.
  • Avoid wearing clothing that can be caught by the saw, as well as accessories that can get caught in the blades (such as necklaces, bracelets, or dangling earrings).
  • Before connecting the table saw to the power supply, check that all accessories are in the correct position, and the worker is well-placed where they will begin cutting.
  • Before handling the saw, ensure that the piece to be cut is securely fixed, and there are no loose materials around the work area.
  • Most table saws have interchangeable blades according to the type of material they will cut. Different blades are used for cutting hard or soft woods, as well as for cutting metal or plastic. Therefore, before operating the saw, ensure it has the appropriate blade for the material to be cut.
  • When operating the table saw, it is necessary to hold it firmly at all times but never force it. If the saw slows down due to the hardness of a material, the worker should not try to make it run faster by applying extra pressure.
  • When necessary to remove chips between the blades, do so with the saw stopped and disconnected from the power supply.
  • If workers need to temporarily suspend their work, they should never stand up before disconnecting the saw.
  • After using the circular saw, the worker should disconnect, clean, and place it in the indicated location within the construction site (usually on a shelf, away from heat or moisture sources).
  • Periodically check the condition of the power cord.

How to Prevent Risks in Construction Work?

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in New York. According to a study by the city government:

  • Approximately 20 construction workers die each year in workplace accidents, which is the highest reported number of fatal accidents in any other industry in New York.
  • Construction workers in New York who were not born in the United States experience an average of 6 out of 10 fatal accidents, and of those six workers not born in the United States, approximately half are Latino.

Most construction accidents could have been prevented by following safety protocols diligently. Intending to train workers in the Latino community of New York and provide them with technical and theoretical tools to reduce the risks of injuries and know what to do in emergencies, Gorayeb & Associates, through the Gorayeb Community Center, manages the delivery of various training courses in Spanish.

These courses offer intensive sessions for workers to learn the best practices for ensuring safe working environments in the construction industry and understand the correct use of various construction tools, such as table saws.

What Should a Worker Do in Case of a Workplace Accident?

Despite taking all precautions, accidents in construction sites unfortunately occur frequently. When a worker suffers a workplace injury, they should take the following steps:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately (call an ambulance if no one has done so, and request a copy of the medical diagnosis of their injuries).
  2. Call a Gorayeb accident lawyer or fill out the form.
  3. Notify their employer about the accident.
  4. Do not sign or state anything to an insurance company representative until advised by a Gorayeb construction accident lawyer.
  5. Identify people who witnessed how the accident happened and note their contact information (name and phone number).
  6. Take photographs and videos of both the location of the accident and their injuries.
  7. If they are unable to perform these actions due to the accident, ask a colleague to do so on their behalf.

If you were injured in a construction accident because you were working with a table saw, you may be entitled to substantial compensation to rebuild your life with your family. At Gorayeb & Associates, we have won over a billion dollars for our clients. Call us today or fill out this form to request a free consultation. Our legal team speaks Spanish, and one of our lawyers is ready to seek justice in your table saw accident case.

Abogado Christopher J. Gorayeb

Information verified by Attorney Christopher J. Gorayeb

Founder of Gorayeb & Associates, P.C.

As one of the most preeminent personal injury lawyers in New York City, Christopher J. Gorayeb brings over 35 years of experience in litigating construction accident cases to the law firm.

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