Although band saws are safe for a well-versed woodworker, it doesn’t eliminate the safety hazard they can bring to your wood shop. In fact, being oblivious to the dangers of these tools can lead to unforeseen bandsaw accidents.
To give you a clearer picture, I’ve gathered some key statistics and facts about this tool. Trust me, it’s better to know what you’re up against.
Table of Contents
Bandsaw Injuries and Accidents Statistics
While the yearly recorded accidents related to bandsaws aren’t as many as table saws, it’s crucial to point out that these tools still cause around 3,550 injuries annually.
The lower accident statistics are mainly relative to the fact that not all workshops have these tools, especially for newbies and hobbyists.
Bandsaw-Related Deaths Per Year
Bandsaw injuries leading to fatality are very rare. Finding a recent record isn’t easy, even if you scan the internet thoroughly. However, one fatality was cited in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records dated from 2021 to 2024.
Most bandsaw-related accidents indicated in OSHA the past year only lead to injuries like amputations of fingertips, thumbs, or pinky fingers.
What are the Most Common Bandsaw Injuries?
Upon looking at OSHA’s records further, I was surprise to fin that the most common accidents related to this tool from 2007 to 2017 were the usage of bandsaws as meat cutters. Even today, some bandsaw injuries are specifically linked to cutting meat in a commercial setting.
The accident summaries from 2021 to 2024 show that most injuries involve hands and fingers. While some are only cuts and lacerations, most incidents proceed to partial and full finger amputations.
Hazards of Using a Band Saw
As a power tool operating with a sharp object, the close contact of fingers to the blade is the number one hazard of using a bandsaw. This cutting machine also produces dust particles during usage, which can lead to irritating the operator’s eyes.
Don’t underestimate the toll of repetitive motions either. I’ve felt it myself—muscle pain and fatigue can creep up on you. You’ll also be exposed to the loud motor and cutting noises that can put your hearing at risk.
If you’re an inexperienced user, improper handling can result in the bandsaw slipping or falling from your hand during usage. This incident can escalate to lacerations, bruises, or other traumatic injuries.
Must-Read: How to Use a Portable Band Saw
What Causes These Injuries to Happen?
Dull or Missing Blade Teeth
An unsharpened or damaged blade affects cutting results and exposes the operator to the danger of the tool flipping sideways because of pushing too hard. It’ll get the material stuck on the blade and hurl in the user’s direction.
User Not Properly Trained to Handle the Machine
If you’re not trained or well-versed in using this tool, you’ll have higher chances of obtaining injuries. However, fatigue can make proper training irrelevant in industrial and highly demanding work settings.
Not Concentrated While Using
When dealing with a powerful machine with a sharp blade, you must give 100% attention to your task. It’s also where proper training comes in handy because it highlights the importance of keeping your eyes on the operation to avoid woodworking accidents.
Not Wearing the Proper Attire
Wearing clothing or anything that can get caught in the blade is an action calling for severe injuries.
Take it from me, always opt for fitted clothing when you’re in the woodshop. And don’t forget to put on personal protective equipment like safety glasses, gloves, and solid footwear.
No matter what you’ll use the bandsaw for, loose clothing and pieces of jewelry should not be part of your work attire. Rule of thumb: If it dangles or flaps, it stays out of the shop.
Lack of Safety Features on the Machine
Modern bandsaws sold in the market have advanced sensors that automatically halt operations upon skin contact detection. Without this feature, you’re most likely vulnerable to other causes of bandsaw injuries.
So when you’re shopping for a bandsaw, these features aren’t just bells and whistles—they’re potentially life-saving components.
Effects on Businesses
Bandsaw accidents often happen in a work or commercial setting. Because of this, these incidents don’t only affect the operator in physical health but other factors like medical, insurance , rehab, and legal costs.
On top of these expenses, you’ll have to settle with OSHA according to the legal penalty fees. Businesses are also at risk of ruining their reputation in the industry, so prevention is always the better solution.
Safety Band Saws
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of what I just mentioned, investing in safety band saws is a great way to start. These machines include built-in sensors that determine the safety zones during usage. It also covers the entirety of the tool, so it’s more accurate than standard ones.
Safety Measures to Know and What to Avoid
Is a band saw safe?
Yes, band saws are safe if you know how to use them properly. Before attempting to operate it, ensure you’re well-versed with the tool’s applications and limitations.
What is the danger zone of a bandsaw?
The danger zone of band saws is located in the cutting area. If a damaged blade breaks during usage, the pieces will likely fly in the direction of the cutting zone.
Is a band saw safer than a table saw?
Yes, band saws are safer than table saws because they execute narrow cuts in a downward motion. Because of this, the workpiece remains stable on the worktable or workbench with the right height.
Can you get kickback on a bandsaw?
No, you can’t get kickbacks on bandsaws because of their design and mechanism. However, if you push it too hard, the tool can execute an inaccurate cut.
Why do bandsaws shake?
Bandsaws shake because of weary and unstable tires. It can be caused by too much dust buildup on the wheels or external damages that the operator needs to examine.
What speed should a bandsaw run at?
Bandsaws should run at a speed range of at least 1000 feet per minute. The higher the speed configuration, the safer and more efficient its cuts are.
What should the operator avoid when using a bandsaw?
The operator should avoid pushing the material too hard when using a bandsaw. You also shouldn’t try to pull the stock away from the blade while the cutting operation to avoid mishaps.
Although bandsaw accidents aren’t the highest power tool-related injury record, you shouldn’t be complacent when using this tool.
Take it from someone who knows their way around a woodshop—you should always prioritize safety. Wear the proper gear and follow best practices. Remember, this machine has elements that can put you at risk. Stay safe, my friends.
Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.
Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.