The power source is usually mains electricity, although jig saws are also powered by rechargeable batteries.

Figure 1: Jig saw

Jig saws

Tasks

Task – Cut the material

Hazard

Entanglement from contact with blade

Harm

  • Deep cuts or amputation
  • Potential piercing injury

Controls

  • FIX guarding.
  • POSITION the moving blade as far possible below the surface of the material being cut.
  • HOLD blades in the cut until the blade stops moving, to avoid the blade breaking when it hits the material.
  • Material MUST be held securely. Holding it by hand or by leaning on it with a knee or foot is NOT enough.

Material can become unstable during cutting, leading to loss of control. Withdrawing a moving blade during a cut can allow the blade to impact the material and break.

Hazard

Saw action/vibration

Harm

  • Vibration may injure fingers, hands, or arms

Controls

  • WEAR anti-vibration gloves to protect hands from excessive vibration.
  • LIMIT usage time and take rest periods.
  • KEEP the workpiece stationary and clamped.

The oscillating action may cause injury through exposure to vibration, especially if used for long periods.

Task – Cut the material

Hazard

Fire/electric currents

Harm

  • Electric shock
  • Burns

Controls

  • KEEP coins, hand tools, screws, and similar objects away from power tool battery terminals.
  • ENSURE battery caps are fitted during transport.
  • CONNECT mains powered saws through an RCD to protect against electric shock.
  • ENSURE saws, extension leads, and RCDs are tested regularly.

Power tool battery terminals touching metal objects can cause a fire hazard. Power tool batteries are extra low voltage (18 V is common) but designed to supply high amounts of electric current. Mains powered jig saws are a portable appliance with potential to give electric shocks if faults develop.

Other (non-mechanical) hazards

Hazard

Heat

Harm

  • Burns

Controls

  • Avoid touching the blade with fingers until it cools.

Blades heat up as they cut. When removing a blade after cutting, it may be hot enough to burn.

Hazard

Noise

Harm

  • Hearing damage or loss

Controls

  • REDUCE noise levels by isolating machines or enclosing within noise barriers.
  • ASSESS noise levels.
  • ARRANGE hearing screenings.
  • ALWAYS WEAR hearing protection.

A safe noise level over an eight hour day is 85dB(A). A jig saw may exceed this noise intensity, particularly if it is used to cut sheet metal.

Hazard

Dust

Harm

  • Eye irritation or damage
  • Breathing problems, lung damage or cancer
  • Worsening of existing health problems

Controls

  • CONNECT dust extraction to the exhaust on the saw if possible.
  • ALWAYS WEAR eye protection.
  • ALWAYS USE respiratory protection.

Hazard

Slips trips and falls

Harm

  • Cuts
  • Bruising

Controls

  • KEEP up-to-date housekeeping procedures.
  • KEEP the area around machines clear of slip and trip hazards.

Task – Maintenance, cleaning & repairs

Hazard

Contact, impact or entanglement from unexpected movement

Harm

  • Contact or impact injuries
  • Cuts or piercing injuries
  • Bruising
  • Fractures

Controls

  • UNPLUG power or REMOVE batteries during blade changes, maintenance, cleaning and repairs.
  • When changing a blade with a hand tool, the hand tool MUST be removed before power is restored to the saw.

Saw movement can start accidentally during blade changes.