How To Use A Reciprocating Saw Safely?

A reciprocating saw is one of the most reliable tools you can own, being used for all cutting applications with its’ power.

When using a reciprocating saw, it’s important to observe your environment in order to minimize and reduce harm to yourself.

How do you use a reciprocating saw safely? It all comes down to being carefully aware of your working environment and identifying potential hazards, using the correct blades, and the correct technique when cutting.

By combining these, you’ll engage in promoting a safer working environment for yourself and your colleagues, as well as increasing the lifespan of your reciprocating saw.

Provide A Safe Working Environment

Reciprocating-saw-safety

This is not only important to yourself, your tool and your quality of work, but also for your colleagues, family and friends – essentially anyone who will enter a setting where you’re using a reciprocating saw.

What can you do to provide both yourself and others with a safe working environment?

We’ll look into what you can do below.

Identify Potential Hazards

Whether you’re working in your home garage, or in a construction zone – there are always going to be potential risks posed when cutting.

It’s vital to be aware of what can be a hazard to you.

For one, it’s important to always turn off when you’re finished with your saw, and unplugging the cord once it’s safety switched off in both the saw and outlet.

This prevents any nasty and unnecessary injuries occurring unexpectedly, which could result in the loss of fingers or damage to your surrounding environment/materials.

If you’re using a corded model, it’s essential to keep the cord free from your line of cut. Not only will this end up in a unuseable reciprocating saw, but also prevents electrocution and fire damage from occurring.

Make sure your cutting space is free from any obstacles which can obstruct or are dangerous, such as live wires, debris and water. A careful sweep and observation of the area can be what stands between you and death.

It goes without saying, but if you’re working in an environment centered around electricity, have any circuits switched off before working. Follow your normal procedure when setting up, and make sure you’re wearing the required equipment.

As each profession has its’ own environment, and also risks that these settings individually bring. The main, universal of advice when it comes to the safety of your environment is to trust observe and clean before and after use, and trusting your instincts.

If you feel something isn’t quite right – you might be correct, and a deeper but safe observation can prevent any injuries or damage from occurring to you and the surrounding environment.

Wear The Correct Safety Equipment

It shouldn’t be something that needs to be encouraged, as everyone should be doing so.

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Unfortunately, in 2017 over 5417 Americans within the construction industry were killed due to accidents.

Most accidents can be prevented, and you can definitely help in reducing the number.

The correct safety equipment should be worn in a direct equivalent to your setting. A well-known example of safety is the hi-vis clothing you wear on site.

Here is a list of generic equipment you can find anywhere, which will greatly aid in the safety of you and the site you’re working on:

  • Safety goggles
  • Safety gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Steel-capped boots
  • Helmets/headwear
  • Earplugs

These are just some examples.

Using Your Reciprocating Saw Safely

Safety starts with how you use your reciprocating saw, and the proper use of it.

If you’ve purchased a reciprocating saw, I’d say there is a very high chance that you’re aware of how to use it. Yet using a reciprocating saw, and doing so safely, are two entirely different things.

Correct Technique

Many people have their own ways of using a reciprocating saw, some which are not designed with safety in mind. There are many safe ways in which you can use your reciprocating saw, and I can share with you, one safe method in particular ito follow when cutting.

Firstly, it’s best to mark a line upon the material you’re cutting with, using some tape measure and permanent marker.

This gives you a line of  visibility, however, it cannot be done in all situations. With the reciprocating saw held in front of you in line with your stomach, press the shoe against the material, aligning the blade to the marked line as closely as possible.

Angling the saw slightly downwards, it will begin to rip through the material with the pressure you’ve applied. It’s best to cut through the material by using your body rather than your arms to guide the cut – as your body can provide more stability than your arms, especially under fatigue.

By following this, you’re reducing in fatigue which can naturally occur, and providing leverage with weight distributed evenly throughout the saw, yourself, and the material you’re cutting.

Using The Correct Blade

As each blade is designed for a specific application, it’s best you use this solely for that application, interchanging between blades when necessary.

reciprocating-saw-blade-change

Remember, safety first.

Using the incorrect blade can have many consequences, which primarily include damage to your blade. Blades can bend, often becoming broken when used at the wrong speed and on the wrong material.

This not only damages your blade and also your reciprocating saw itself, but it can also cause an accident which could prove fatal.

This is also can add up to create an expensive replacement, as many blades designed for specific applications, such as masonry and nail embedded wooden blades, are often expensive.

Regular Maintenance

Not only does a regular clean up of your tools and accessories increase their longevity, but it also minimizes any potential damages which can occur.

We’ve already established the importance of using the correct blades for their respective applications, which you should be doing in order to cut correctly and maintain the life of your blades.

If your reciprocating saw has a brushed motor, you can unscrew the protective casing (make sure this your saw is switched off, first) and vacuum any dust and debris that have made its’ way into the motor.

As the motor relies on clean and working brushes inside of it, you should see an increase in performance if you’ve skipped cleaning your saw after each use.

Both your recip saw and wallet will thank you for this one.

Make sure you’re lubricating your blades often – especially when cutting metal. High speeds can heat up the blades, and over time they can become visibly worn through hours of use.

Regular lubrication of metal blades will ensure they can remain as sharp and provide as smooth of a cut as possible.

Summary

After reading this article, if you weren’t too sure of how to use a reciprocating saw safely, you should now be able to do so.

Using power tools daily can often take your view on safety for granted – so it’s important to remain constantly alert and aware of the environment you’re working in to increase the safety of yourself and those around you.

If you feel as if you’ve been using the wrong techniques in the past, feel free to use our guide as a walkthrough for yourself and others.

If you have any additional safety tips, I’d love to hear them.

Feel free to leave any comments and thoughts below, so we can share these views with other readers.

Related Questions

I think my reciprocating saw may be damaged – how do I know?

Following your instinct is the best way forward in this situation. You’re aware of how your saw works, and the noises which occur – so if you spot anything out of the ordinary, it’s best to switch the saw off, and the electrical means in which it’s powered, and consult your manufacturer.

If you can actively see damage to your saw, including the cord – cease operation at once and consult your warranty – you may be covered by the manufacturer.

I’m only going to use my saw to prune some branches back, I won’t need all this safety gear for a quick job, right?

Wrong.

What can take a few minutes, can cause a lifetime of damage.

Even if you’re only going to take a few minutes with the reciprocating saw, you’re effectively using something which can actively work as a weapon and cause serious damage.

You would rather take a few minutes preparing yourself for a quick job, than never being able to use your reciprocating saw again, right?

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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