Band saws use thin, flexible, continuous steel strips with cutting teeth on one edge. They are used primarily for cutting curves in stock. The blade runs on two pulleys, driver and idler, and through a work table where stock is manually fed. Automatic feeds can be used for production cutting; however, this machine is usually considered a manual feed tool.

There are two types of band saws; horizontal and vertical contour band saws. The blade runs on two pulleys, driven and idler, and through a work table (vertical) or over the work (horizontal) where stock is being fed.

Operator Involvement

The operator is required to hand-feed and manipulate the stock against the blade to saw along a predetermined line. He/she must also keep the stock flat on the work table and exert the proper cutting pressure.

Potential Hazard

  • The most common injury is caused by contact with the blade. Contact with the blade at the point of operation occurs because the operator's hands may come close to the blade during cutting, and band saws cannot be completely guarded.

Possible Solutions

Band Saw

Engineering Controls

  • Guard the blade entirely except at the point of operation (the working portion of the blade between the bottom of the guide rolls and the table) [29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1)].

  • Use a self-adjusting guard for the portion of the blade between the sliding guide and the upper saw so that it raises and lowers with the guide [29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1)].

  • Properly adjust the blade guide post to fit the thickness of the stock and to provide additional guarding.

  • Fully enclose the pulley mechanism [29 CFR 1910.219(d)].

  • Guard feed rolls [29 CFR 1910.213(i)(3)].

  • Install a brake on one or both wheels to minimize the potential for coasting after the saw has been shut off; or do not retrieve material until the blade has stopped.

  • Make sure the saw includes a tension control device to indicate proper blade tension [29 CFR 1910.213(i)(2)].

Possible Solutions

Work Practices

  • Use a blade of an appropriate size and type (for example, do not force a wide saw to cut on a small radius).

  • Set the guard to just clear the stock when it is near the blade.

  • Use a push stick to control the stock when it is near the blade.

  • Use a special jig or fixture when cutting small pieces of stock.