The portable circular saw is one of the most popular power tools for DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike. The sheer versatility of this type of saw is what makes it one of the most used tools in the world; however, it is also one of the most dangerous tools.

Many accidents involving portable circular saws are through carelessness and a lack of understanding of the basic rules when operating the saw.

In our Circular Saw Safety Guide is a list of rules that should be followed to avoid any type of accident when using a portable circular saw. Failing to follow these rules could see you waving goodbye (no pun intended) to your fingers or hand.

  1. You should always wear safety goggles, full face visor or glasses with side shields that comply with current safety standards.
  2. Use a dust mask to stop inhalation of dust and other particles.
  3. Ensure that the material to be cut is firmly clamped in position.
  4. If operating the saw for long periods, wear ear plugs or headphones.
  5. Do not wear loose fitting clothing or jewelry such as a necklace that may catch in the moving parts of the saw.
  6. If you have long hair, tie it back or wear a hair net or cap that you can tuck it under.
  7. Always use sharp blades, blunt blades can cause kickback and binding.
  8. Examine the power cord and extension lead to ensure that they are not damaged.
  9. Before connecting the power, check that the blade guard is working correctly by pulling it fully up and letting it go, if the guard does not return correctly or is slow to return, get it repaired before using the saw. Do not tie back or remove the guard, it’s there to protect you from a potential amputation.
  10. Before cutting, make sure that you have the correct blade for the material you intend to cut.
  11. Check the condition of the blade before use. Look for any defects or bent teeth.
  12. Make sure that the power cord is long enough to complete the cut without pulling on it. Use an extension to lengthen the cord.
  13. Keep the cord behind the cut and well away from the cut line.
  14. Examine the material to be cut, make sure that there are no foreign objects such as nails or staples near the cut line.
  15. Ensure that your work area is clean and tidy. A cluttered work area can lead to trips and accidents.
  16. When cutting into walls or floor boards use a pipe and cable detector to make sure there are no electrical cables or pipes near the cut area.
  17. Avoid cutting small pieces of material which can’t be properly secured, and material on which the base of the saw (shoe) cannot properly rest.
  18. Set the blade depth to a maximum of 1/4 inch deeper than the depth of the material to be cut.
  19. Allow the blade to reach full speed before starting to cut and allow the blade to fully stop when the cut has been completed.
  20. Unplug the saw from the power before changing the blade or making any adjustments to the depth etc.

Most of the above is common sense, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves now and again of the best practices when operating a portable circular saw. Failing to operate one in the correct manner could lead to a very serious accident. Don’t let it happen to you!