BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - November/December 2018 - 21

SAFETY UPDATE

WORKSAFE BULLETIN:
BLADE GUARD REPLACEMENT
OPTIONS FOR TABLE SAWS

M

ost new table saws are
supplied with blade
guards designed to
prevent the operator's hands
from accidentally making
contact with the blade. But
in many cases, blade guards
are missing or have been
removed (for example, when
a table saw is purchased
second-hand). This puts
operators at risk of serious
injury. As an employer, you
are responsible for ensuring
saws are equipped with
effective point-of-operation
safeguarding. For table saws,
this means the use of blade
guards and safety devices such
as push sticks and jigs.
Types of guards
Most guards for table saws fall into
two categories:
* The widely used traditional-style
guards that mount on the saw's
trunnion assembly.
* The over-arm style guards that
mount on the extension table.

Options for guard
replacement
Consider the following options for
replacing guards:
* If the original make and model of
the guard is still available, buy and
install it.
* If the original make and model
of the guard is no longer
www.bsiabc.ca

available, buy and install an
aftermarket guard (a guard that
serves the same purpose but
may be produced by a different
manufacturer).

Aftermarket guards
Many aftermarket guards
provide effective protection, are
operator-friendly and fit most makes
and models of saws. One key feature
to consider is whether the guard
self-adjusts for different material
thicknesses. Guards without this
feature must be adjusted manually
by the operator to keep the vertical
clearance between the material and
the guard to a minimum.

Traditional guards
Most traditional guards come
with splitters, anti-kickback fingers
or pawls and spreaders or riving
knives. These safety devices are
designed to reduce the risk of the
saw blade grabbing the work piece
and propelling it back toward the
operator (kickback). Custom guards
that fit old and new saws are available
from more than 30 manufacturers.
Look for a guard that is easy to install.

Over-arm guards
Over-arm guards are generally
easier to adjust than traditional
guards. Some models may include
a dust collection system. Over-arm
guards do not include anti-kickback
devices. Such devices must be added
to the saw separately as required. See

the manufacturer's manual for more
information.

Power feeders
To increase production and
improve the consistency of cuts, table
saws may be equipped with power
feeders. A power feeder consists of
a set of powered rollers that press
down on the material and feed it
through the saw blade at a controlled
feed rate. Since power feeders
are typically positioned directly
over the blade during operation,
they may function as effective
point-of-operation safeguards. This
eliminates the need for conventional
guards. If the power feeder is
removed, and you want to manually
feed material through the saw, it must
be equipped with a suitable blade
guard and an anti-kickback device.

Other technologies
Skin contact-sensing technology,
such as a finger-sensing table saw, is
a good secondary line of protection
when used with a guard. In saws
equipped with this technology, the
blade shuts down in a split second if
any part of a worker's body touches
the saw blade. This technology must
be used in combination with a guard
unless a guard is clearly impracticable
for the task.
For more information and
resources, go to worksafebc.com and
search for "woodworking." You can
find aftermarket guards by searching
online for "table saw guard." 

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 | BSIA NEWS | NEWS MAGAZINE

21


http://www.worksafebc.com http://www.bsiabc.ca

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - November/December 2018

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