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Ohio State University Extension


Safe Operation of Portable Circular Power Saws

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To be able to safely use power saws, and to prevent injuries.

Trainer’s Note

Hold this session in the shop. Discuss the hazards involved with using power saws and how these hazards can be avoided. Ask the workers why the hazards associated with power saws are often overlooked. Review the true or false quiz.


Keep the Work Area Safe

  • Keep extension cords out of water.
  • Keep work area free of clutter and debris.
  • Use proper lighting.
  • Have adequate ventilation.

Saws in Safe Working Condition Have:

  • sharp blades.
  • a three-prong conductor plug, unless it is double insulated.
  • a properly functioning rubber coated extension cords without cuts, tears, or breaks in the outer coating.
  • properly functioning guards should enclose the portion of the blade above and below the material being cut.
  • the piece of work clamped to the surface, so both hands can be used to guide the saw.

Portable power saw guards should be able to move freely and should almost totally enclose the blade except when a cut is being made. Then the guard should rotate to allow the blade to be exposed while making the cut. However, the portion of the blade extending below the material being cut will not be covered by a guard. The depth of the cut should be adjusted to limit the amount of blade extending through the material being cut to ½ inch or less.

Follow Safe Work Practices

  • Wear eye and ear protection.
  • Secure loose clothing, jewelry, or long hair.
  • Replace dull or burned saw blades.
  • Lift the saw from the cut after the blade stops.
  • Carry the saw by the handle and use the handle to raise or lower the saw.
  • Use the correct blade for the cut intended.
  • Disconnect power before cleaning the saw, changing blades, or making adjustments.
  • Use power hand saws appropriately.
  • Place materials on a firm surface for cutting (not on hands, arms, across the knees or feet).
  • Cut the materials beyond the end of a support so that the waste falls clear.
  • Adjust the blade depth to limit the amount of blade exposed below the material being cut to ½ inch or less.

Review the Following Points

  • Keep work areas clean and free of clutter.
  • Always wear goggles or other eye protection.
  • Use the correct blade.
  • Carry the saw by the handle and keep fingers off the trigger switch.
  • Make sure power saws are grounded with a three-prong conductor plug.
  • Replace all damaged parts and cords.
  • Make sure guards are in place and functioning.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. F
  2. T
  3. T
  4. F
  5. T

Quiz: Safe Operation of Portable Circular Power Saws



True or False? 

1. Eye protection is not necessary when using a power saw. T F
2. If an extension cord is damaged, it should be replaced immediately. T F
3. Carry the saw by the handle and not with a finger on the switch trigger. T F
4. One blade can be used for all saw cuts. T F
5. Never use an arm or leg as a sawhorse. T F







Originally posted Sep 3, 2019.