In the reported incidents in this edition of Safety Soapbox we have two incidents involving battery powered circular saws.
The apprentice’s wound required 80 to 100 stitches to close, but it could have been much worse.
Over the years as a carpenter and WorkSafe inspector I have observed too many people, especially young or inexperienced workers, in industry treat battery saws as toys. People don’t always apply the same caution or respect they do when using mains powered (240 volt) circular saws.
Modern battery circular saws are lightweight, easily manoeuvrable and powerful. But while they may feel like toys, they are not. Often the electric motor is positioned on the opposite side to the motor on 240 volt circular saws, which increases the risk of making contact with the blade.
If you or your workers use battery powered circular saws I urge you to read and consider the information in WorkSafe’s Safety alert – Battery powered circular saws.
Ensure you understand the limitations of battery saws, the associated hazards and risks and the safe operation requirements.
Provide your workers with instruction, training and supervision on the hazard, risks and safe operation of battery saws. Regularly reinforce battery saw safety messages with your workers and use the safety alert as a basis of your toolbox talks.
Be extra vigilant when battery powered circular saws are being used by young or inexperienced workers, to ensure they are being used safely.
For more information on battery saws, see WorkSafe’s Safety alert – Battery powered circular saws