Handsaw Safety

What should I know about hand saws?

Saws are made in various shapes and sizes and for many uses. Use the correct saw for the job.

  • Wear safety glasses or goggles, or a face shield.
  • Select a saw of proper shape and size for the stock being used.
  • Select a saw with the number of teeth per inch (TPI) in order to get the desired finish. For example, a coarse tooth blade (e.g., 2 or 3 TPI) should be used for thicker stock. 18 to 32 TPI should be used on thinner metals or plastic (1/4 inch or 0.5 cm). General wood cutting typically requires about 4 TPI.
  • Choose a saw handle that keeps your wrist in a natural position in the horizontal plane.
  • Choose saw with a handle opening of at least 5 in. (12 cm) long and 2.5 in. (6 cm) wide and slanted at a 15° angle.
Hand Tools - Handsaws
  • Check the stock being cut for nails, knots, and other objects that may damage or buckle saw.
  • Start the cut by placing your hand beside the cut mark with your thumb upright and pressing against the blade. Start cut carefully and slowly to prevent the blade from jumping. Pull upward until blade bites. Start with partial cut, then set saw at the proper angle.
  • Apply pressure on downstroke only.
Hand Tools - Handsaws
  • Hold stock being cut firmly in place.
  • Use a helper, a supporting bench or vise to support long stock if required.
  • Keep teeth and blades properly set.
  • Protect teeth of saw when not in use.
  • Keep saw blades clean.

What should I know about using a hacksaw?

  • Select the correct blade for the material being cut.
  • Secure blade with the teeth pointing forward. Tighten the nut until the blade is under tension.
  • Keep blade rigid, and frame properly aligned.
  • Cut using steady strokes, directed away from you.
  • Use the entire length of the blade in each cutting stroke.
  • Use light machine oil on the blade to keep it from overheating and breaking.
Hand Tools - Handsaws
  • Cut harder materials more slowly than soft materials.
  • Clamp thin, flat pieces requiring edge cutting.
  • Keep saw blades clean and lightly oiled.
  • Do not apply too much pressure on the blade as the blade may break.
  • Do not twist when applying pressure.
  • Do not use it when the blade becomes loose in the frame.

Refer to OSHA Answers General Hand Tool Operation for more tips.

Document last updated on January 7, 2012.

The original source of this information is from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety www.ccchs.ca. All rights reserved.