Getting Too Close To The Blade

THE FACTS: A 48-year-old amateur woodworker trimmed the end off a long board, using his miter gauge. He turned ofi the saw, and as the blade was slowing down he noticed that the oifcut was "bumping against the blade." He flipped the offcut away with his index finger, and in the process brought his thumb into the blade. He lost about V4 in. from the tip of his thumb.

THE SAFETY LESSON: Even a slow-spinning saw blade can cause grave injuries. As a rule, there should never be a reason to put your hand anywhere near a spinning blade. To remove an offcut near the blade, use the end of a long push stick or other long stick. If the offcut is "bouncing off" or perilously close to the blade, creating a potentially dangerous kickback situation, just turn off the saw and get out of the way.

GUARDS: Some blade guards will prevent long offcuts from contacting the blade after the cut.

A spinning but unpowered blade can still do serious damage. Never reach close to the blade when it's still moving.


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