The table saw is one of the most widely-used power tools on many construction projects, something that workers have probably used thousands and thousands of times. This can make it feel less dangerous or less risky than it actually is.

The truth, though, is that a table saw is exceedingly dangerous and a single mistake can lead to life-long disfigurement. Just ask professional rock climber Tommy Caldwell, who accidentally amputated his own finger — a catastrophic injury for someone who makes his living climbing stone faces. 

Here are a few tips to help construction workers, who also rely heavily on their hands for their income, avoid this same type of issue:

  • Use a push stick whenever the board has to pass close to the blade. 
  • Always operate the saw with bare hands, not with gloves. 
  • Clean up any trip hazards around the saw, like sawdust or debris. 
  • Don’t make any awkward or off-balance movements. Everything should be done in a careful, controlled manner. 
  • Use the right PPE for the job, including headphones and eyeglasses. 
  • Do not rush. Take your time and do the job both safely and correctly. 
  • Do not wear any loose clothing. Avoid wearing necklaces or long sleeves. If you have long hair, tie it back. 
  • Never touch or change the blade without unplugging the saw. Turning it off is not enough. 
  • If a board gets jammed behind the blade, turn the saw off and unplug it before clearing the jam. 
  • Do not get complacent. Always think about the real risks with a table saw. 

These tips do help, but workplace accidents still happen. Those who suffer serious, potentially life-changing injuries must know what legal options they have