Stone Saw Safety: Preparation and Operation Tips
Cutting stone with a saw is a key part of the fabrication process. Like all work activities, it is important to cut stone safely. Despite this, people often overlook dangers when working quickly. At Baca Systems, we are committed to safety both in designing our products and instructing users on how to use them. The following stone saw safety tips and guidelines will help you stay safe and productive.
Preparing Your Work Area
First and foremost, it is important to prepare your work environment. Like all machinery, stone saws should only be used with sufficient space to maneuver the material. Never have the stone balanced precariously or in a position is can be bumped by someone walking by.
Stone saws are often designed to use water to help with dust management. Nonetheless, it is best to avoid letting water build up. Therefore, there should be sufficient drainage around the machine to minimize the risk of electric shock.
Silica dust and other respiratory hazards are typically the most significant risk associated with stone cutting beyond the normal risks of sawing (abrasions, lacerations etc.). The work area should be prepared with plentiful ventilation, especially if working indoors. Learn more about this in the dust management section.
Wearing Personal Protective Equipment
PPE is one of the most essential elements of using any equipment safely. Additionally, it is required by OSHA. Stone saw operators should wear heavy-duty gloves to protect against cuts and lacerations from the sharp edges of freshly cut materials. Additionally, operators should wear protective garments.
Face and eye protection are always a necessity. This should include safety glasses, goggles, a face shield or other appropriate protection against flying debris and dust. In some cases, respiratory PPE is required (specifically if not using wet cutting methods to manage dust).
Inspecting the Saw Before Use
As with other equipment, a preliminary inspection of your stone saw is an important safety measure. This should be done regularly, ideally before beginning operation each day. Look over the components of the saw and watch for anything that looks unusual or damaged. These are some specific areas to note:
- Confirm that the water pump is operated correctly.
- Confirm that the saw blade is correct for the intended type of cut.
- Check the saw blade for wear, specifically looking for any unevenness. Also, look for any cracks or other vulnerabilities.
- Make sure dust collection equipment is working if dry cutting.
A properly maintained stone cutting saw is a safe one. So, follow all servicing instructions, change blades as they get worn down and regularly inspect the equipment.
Managing Dust During Operation
Perhaps the most important aspect of stone saw safety is dust management. Hard materials such as stone, porcelain and ceramic create a lot of dust. In particular, contain crystalline silica particles that release silica dust, which can be very hazardous to your health if you breathe it in.
Fortunately, wet cutting is highly effective at managing dust. Most Baca Systems saws include water delivery systems to capture and contain dust. In this setup, water is sprayed into the cut as the saw blade passes through. This traps the dust and prevents it from becoming airborne.
If you are using dry cutting or working indoors, it is important to have sufficient ventilation. This should include exhaust fans, air ducts and other means of clearing any airborne particles from the work area.
Dry cutting saws should also have a vacuum dust collection system in most cases. The user should wear respiratory PPE. This is required by OSHA due to the significant risk of lung disease that can arise from inhaling dust.
Following the above stone saw safety guidelines will help you to use Baca Systems saws properly. These tips are also relevant for manual stone cutting systems and all brands of stone saws.
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