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The safety laws regarding the industrial use of saws

March 24, 2023 2 min read

Conditions will vary greatly depending on the workshop or warehouse that you are working in. However, training in how to safely use industrial woodworking machinery is an absolute must, no matter what environment you work in. In an ideal world, all woodworking machinery will be well maintained to ensure that it is safe to use, and it will also have  the correct safeguards in place to protect the person using it. 

Safety training

Industrial saws should only ever be operated by those individuals who have been fully trained in their use and are competent to do so. It should be possible to prove this competency for the sake of not only the individual, but also those around them in the workshop. 

A safety training program for anyone involved in the handling and using of woodworking machinery such as saws should include manual handling and noise and hazardous substances training (COSHH Training). This is in addition to the necessary training that helps in the control of the health risks associated with wood dust and, of course, the relevant operational training for any woodworking machinery tools. 

The laws and regulations governing the industrial use of saws 

When it comes to the use of industrial woodworking machinery such as saws, there are some very clear guidelines set out in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, often referred to as PUWER. 

PUWER requires that all industrial woodworking machinery that is provided for use in the workplace, for example, in a warehouse or workshop, should be:

·       suitable for the use it was intended for

·       safe to use and maintained and inspected regularly to make sure it is correctly installed and hasn’t deteriorated

·       only used by individuals who have had the appropriate instruction and training

·       combined with the appropriate health and safety measures – guarding, appropriate means of isolation from energy sources, emergency stop device, visible warnings and markings

·       used following the specific requirements

It is also a requirement that the business or organisation where the saws are used are responsible for risk management of the use of the equipment. In addition to all of the conditions mentioned above. This means that they need to make sure that any new machinery conforms to any essential requirements. It should

·       have appropriate conformity marking, including being labelled with the details of the manufacturer and have a declaration of conformity

·       have written instructions in English 

·       be free from obvious defects. It should remain like this during its working life

Safety standards for the use of saws

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a significant number of safety standards in place governing the use of a wide range of different saws in warehouse and workshop environments. It is important that any business where saws are being used takes the time to familiarise themselves with the safety standards that pertain to the type of saw that will be being used. A full list of all the safety standards for saws and other types of woodworking machinery can be found on their website.