There have been recent reports of serious injuries (amputations and lacerations) of workers all whilst using battery powered circular saws. These saws differ from 240 volt corded units in the following way:
- Many models have the blade on the left hand side – opposite to corded units;
- They are much lighter and more compact, compared to corded units; and
- They are generally less powerful than corded units.
These factors have led to users perceiving that battery saws are safer; therefore not applying the same degree of caution. Additionally, the placement of the blade on the left hand side is closer to the body and makes this configuration unfamiliar to many users.
Because these saws are less powerful, they a more prone to jamming, e.g. there is a tendency to force the saw through the material being cut, and users may be unaware the blade can re-start suddenly if pressure released.
How to Reduce the Risk
Prior to using this type of saw:
- The operator should carefully read manufacturer’s operating and safety instructions;
- Be capable of competent handling of the saw;
- Check the saw is safe to use, per operating instructions;
- Understand the procedure to be followed in the event of ‘a jam’ or malfunction;
- Ensure the work area is clean and safe;
- Wear the appropriate PPE for the task e.g. hearing and eye protection;
- Use “saw horses”, stands, and means of securing the work piece where possible;