031 – Kicking Back on Table Saw Safety

In this week’s episode of the “OSHA Oops!” podcast, Michael and Rick discuss a company that was fined for removing the guards and kickback protection on their Table Saws. They go into why OSHA requires those safety measures and discuss the Stop Saw technology, which is not OSHA-approved. The company was cited a little over $3k, but a loss of limb could have been a lot greater.

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Why remove the guards?

Some companies, in an effort to speed up production or save on costs, remove the guards from their table saws. The thinking is that if the operator is careful, there is no need for the extra precaution of the guard. Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever worked with wood knows, things can go wrong quickly and without warning. That’s why OSHA requires table saws to have guards and kickback protection.

What is kickback protection?

Kickback protection is a device that is mounted to the back of the table saw blade. It is designed to prevent kickbacks, which are when the piece of wood being cut is flung back at the operator with great force. Kickbacks can cause serious injuries, including loss of limbs.

The Stopsaw Technology

There is a new technology called “Stop Saw” that uses sensors to detect when someone’s hand gets too close to the blade and then shuts off the saw before injuries can occur. This technology is not yet approved by OSHA, but it may be in the future. In the meantime, companies should be using guards and kickback protection on their table saws to protect their employees.


Operating a table saw without proper safety precautions is dangerous. Companies that remove guards and kickback protection are risking serious injuries to their employees. Table saw accidents can result in amputations, so it’s important for companies to do everything they can to protect their workers. Operators should also be trained on how to use the equipment safely and given ample time to do so. Speed should never come at the expense of safety.

If your company needs safety training, along with OSHA defense and many other safety services, please call 1-800-734-3574 for more details.