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April 2014

Tool Safety: Hand Held Circular Saws

Peter Koch 2014 Posted by Peter Koch

A hand held circular saw is one of the most common and potentially dangerous tools on the jobsite.   Ease of use and versatility of this saw are factors that drive decisions which put the operator at risk of injury.  It’s called a “skill” saw for a reason and not every operator has the necessary skill to safely produce quality work, in a timely manner. 

As one of the necessary “tools of the trade” it is critical that the operator has the skill and ability to use the saw correctly, ensuring their safety and the quality of the work.  So, to help maintain balance between the demands of quality, productivity and injury prevention review the following before you pick up a saw:


  • Make sure that you have read all safety materials that come with your saw.
  • Inspect the saw for serviceable condition.
  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Check the blade guard; ensure it is working freely.
  • Ensure that the blade is proper for the material being cut.
  • Check the saw for proper blade installation and rotation.
  • Set the depth of the blade (while the saw is unplugged) so that the lowest tooth does not extend excessively beneath the wood.
  • Keep all cords clear of cutting area.
  • Use two hands to operate saw.
  • Mechanically secure stock being cut. 
  • Keep eyes on the saw while in use.
  • Remove nails, screws, fasteners, and other metal before cutting stock.
  • Let the saw come to rest before removing from the stock being cut.


  • Operate an unsafe tool or one that does not meet the manufacturer’s serviceable condition standards. 
  • Place your hand under the shoe or guard of the saw. 
  • Remove guard or prop open.
  • Hold retracting lower guard in the open position while cutting.
  • Rotate the saw up to change or check alignment while the saw is running. 
  • Force the saw in the material while cutting.
  • Carry the saw with a finger on the trigger switch. 
  • Overreach. Keep proper footing and balance. 
  • Support the work piece on your knee.  
  • Rip stock without securing the stock from movement

This is not a complete list.  Be sure to take a MEMIC Minute, go over the safety tips above, and be safe when you operate a circular saw.  For additional guidance check out the training resources from the Power Tool Institute.

Circular Saw power tool cut

Serving Up Safety

Scott Valorose 2014 Posted by Scott Valorose

What’s on the menu if you’re a leader in your restaurant or commercial kitchen?  The answer, of course, is the safety of your professional staff.  To create a well balanced menu, start by focusing on the industry’s common losses and/or those you may be experiencing.  Losses typically include cuts, strains and sprains, and burns:

  • Cuts – to the hands, fingers, and thumb from knives, other blades, and broken glass or wares
  • Strains and sprains – to the lower extremities, hips, back, and shoulders from falls on wet floors and over-exertions
  • Burns – to the hands, arms, and face from hot surfaces, flames, foods, and liquids

Make sure to include the following preventative items:


  • Utilize food processors or manual processors to reduce the use of knives for some food prep
  • Adopt safe knife use and handling procedures
  • Require the use of cut resistant gloves
  • Scheduled knife sharpening by an outside service
  • Establish written instructions and postings on safe operation and cleaning of equipment

Slips and Falls

  • Slip resistant flooring in good condition and well maintained
  • Plans and actions to keep any walking surface dry and clean
  • Slip resistant footwear (in good condition)
  • Floor mats (in good condition)


  • Establish limits on items or loads carried at one time 
  • Set work heights to reduce bending forward 
  • Teach techniques that keep the elbows near the body
  • Ensure the storage of heavy items or containers at or near waist level


  • Use mitts, gloves, aprons, and/or towels as appropriate 
  • Set limits on filling pots, cups, or other wares 
  • Teach techniques to keep the hands and body away from escaping steam

For the above items to be effective, it takes good leadership to ensure all staff members are aware of established safety goals and performance expectations.  Mitts don’t protect if they’re not worn.  Knife skills protect only when compliance is 100%.  Performance or the actions and behaviors you want embraced must be periodically monitored.  When staff members are observed doing the right thing, recognition needs to be expressed.  Staff also need to understand that non-compliance will be noticed and consistently addressed.

Additional specialty items are served up on MEMIC’s Safety Director (Webinars on Demand) and at:

Do You Need Assistance Developing a Workplace Violence Prevention Policy?

Rob Sylvester 2013  Posted by Rob Sylvester

Workplace violence can take place in many forms in the workplace, and when it does, it affects us all.  Before an incident occurs, it is critical that your staff be prepared to recognize and respond to a situation.  A workplace violence incident can impact the safety and performance of your employees and overall operations of your organization.  Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors. Homicide is currently the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 4,547 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2010, 506 were workplace homicides.  Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported.

MEMIC is offering a free webinar to MEMIC customers on April 10th from 10-11 a.m.  Attendees will learn how to identify, prevent, prepare, mitigate, respond and recover from different forms of workplace violence.  In addition, we will help you develop a workplace violence policy and/or procedure for your organization.

Please note, MEMIC will also be conducting a second webinar concentrating on healthcare later this year.

To register for this free webinar or to find further information on MEMIC workshops and webinars, please go to