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Band Saw Toolbox Talk 1

Finger Lacerated in Band Saw

A graphic of a band saw.

A student suffered an injury to their finger while operating a band saw in a student machine shop on campus. The student was performing several uniform cuts less than an inch in width utilizing a T-square as a rip fence on the band saw’s table. The student made their last cut and was ready to clear the band saw table of cut material, so the student hit the off button on the machine. Prior to allowing the band saw blade to stop the student attempted to remove a cut piece of material from the band saw table near the rotating blade when the student’s finger contacted the blade causing a laceration. The student did require medical treatment for their injury and was released that same day.

The student had received band saw training and had properly adjusted the guard but did not allow the blade to come to a complete stop.

Safety Tips for Band Saw Users:

  • Ensure the saw is turned off and the blade has come to a complete stop prior to the user walking away.
    • Saw blades do not stop instantly, See approximate band saw stopping time below.
    • Never stick an object into the blade to stop the machine quicker.
Band Saw Brake Type Stopping Time Stopping Time utilizing brake
Band Saw, equipped with manual brake * 45 to 90 seconds * 5 to 20 seconds
Band Saw, no manual brake * 10 to 30 seconds N/A
* Each machine’s stopping time varies. The above stopping times are an approximate based on a limited sample population.
  • Never clear small pieces while the blade is moving. A user’s fingers and hands should never be within a 3” radius (Danger Zone) of any moving blade.
    • If required to enter Danger Zone to perform a cut utilize a push stick, feather board, jig or other aid to keep fingers and hands greater than 3” from the moving blade.
    • Always shut down the machine and wait for the blade to stop moving prior to cleaning off the saw table.
  • Cut relief cuts prior to cutting long or tight curves. The relief cuts will free the blade of the tension when cutting through curves. The blade size will dictate the radius of the cut.
  • Always set the blade guard properly. The blade guard should be set with the machine “off” and no more than 1/4" above the piece of material being cut.
  • Never back out of a cut, if you need to back out of a cut, shut the machine off, wait for the blade to stop, and then back out the piece.
  • Get assistance if;
    • You are unsure or have a question
    • The work piece is too large for one person to handle