The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, issues guidelines to ensure safe operation of a band saw. OSHA reports that most injuries from band saws occur from contact between the blade and the operator's hands. Other potential hazards exist, however, and OSHA provides guidance in reducing the risk of injuries.
With the exception of the contact point, the blade should have a complete guard installed. The guard on the part of the blade between the upper saw and the sliding guide should be self-adjusting, raising and lowering whenever the guide moves. The pulleys and feed rolls should have guards or enclosures as well.
The saw should feature a tension control to show the tension of the blade. A brake minimizes coasting, or the continued rotation of the blade after turning off the saw. Brakes should be installed on at least one wheel.
Operators should ensure that the blade is the appropriate type and size for the material. Never attempt to cut material while the blade is coasting. Operators should use a stick to push the material when cutting close to the blade. Inspect the blade before operation and replace if worn or cracked.
Wear safety goggles to protect the eyes from flying splinters or chips. Restrain long hair and do not wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid hair or clothing becoming caught in the pulleys or feed rolls. Decibel levels should be checked and hearing protection worn if needed, particularly at high speeds.
When installing, use the grounding wire to ground the machine. Check voltage prior to operation to ensure all connections have been attached properly.
Jeffrey Joyner has had numerous articles published on the Internet covering a wide range of topics. He studied electrical engineering after a tour of duty in the military, then became a freelance computer programmer for several years before settling on a career as a writer.