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Rough Mill Equipment > Radial Arm Saws
Radial arm saw #1Radial saws are circular saws that cut downward, either with or against the wood grain (rip or crosscut). Radial saws have features that make them more versatile than table saws. The saw arm can be raised and lowered and swung from side to side to adjust the depth and horizontal angle of the cut. The blade can be replaced with shaping cutters, disk, or drum sanders and other accessories.

Operator Involvement

For crosscutting, the operator pushes the wood away from himself or herself against a fence. For rip cuts, the blade is set parallel to the fence, and the stock is pushed through. The saw blade rotates upward toward the operator, who feeds the stock in the opposite direction of the blade movement.

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Point of Operation Top
Potential Hazard:

Radial Arm Saw #2
Fig 1 - Radial arm saw
Possible Solutions:

Engineering Controls
  • Enclose the upper half of the saw (from the blade down to the end of the saw arbor) with a fixed hood. Guard the lower half with a self-adjusting, floating guard that rises and falls and automatically adjusts to the thickness of the stock [29 CFR 1910.213(h)(1)].

  • Make sure the saw has a return device. The front end of the unit must be slightly higher than the rear, so that the cutting head will return to its original position when released by the operator. This should also prevent the cutting head from rolling or moving the arm due to gravity or vibration [29 CFR 1910.213(h)(4)].

  • Install an adjustable stop to limit forward travel distance of the blade during repeat cuts [29 CFR 1910.213(h)(3)].
Work Practices
  • Measure boards against a stop gauge or turn off the saw if measuring by rule. Wait for the blade to stop before moving materials or making measurements.

Kickbacks Top
Potential Hazard:

  • Kickbacks - Stock caught in the blade or fed in the wrong direction may be thrown back at the operator.
Radial arm saw #3
Fig 2 - Radial arm saw
Possible Solutions:

Engineering Controls
  • For ripping, install non-kickback fingers on both sides of the saw blade [29 CFR 1910.213(h)(2)].

  • Use a spreader in ripping operations to prevent the cut in the wood from immediately closing and binding the blade.
Work Practices
  • During crosscutting, operate the saw on the side of table with the handle.

  • Make sure that stock is in the correct direction. Post a warning label on the hood showing the direction of saw rotation [29 CFR 1910.213(h)(5)].

Flying Particles Top
Potential Hazard:

  • Flying particles - The cutting action of the blade may throw wood chips, splinters, and broken saw teeth.
Possible Solution:

Work Practices
  • During crosscutting, operate the saw on the side of table with the handle.
Radial Arm Saw #4
Fig 3 - Radial arm saw
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