Why are Radial Arm Saws Dangerous? Unveiling the Hazards

You need power tools for any kind of workshop that offer efficiency and precision. Radial arm saws are great power tools that are particularly known for their versatility and accuracy while cutting a variety of items. However, despite their incredible performance in woodworking and construction tasks, they have a substantial amount of risk factors. The blade of these saws gets extreme traction and may cause the tool to fly back, which may result in severe potential dangers. This article will detail why are radial arm saws dangerous and provide guidelines for ensuring safety. 

What Are Radial Arm Saws?

Radial arm saws are a power-cutting machine that woodworkers and constructors commonly use. This machine consists of a circular saw mounted on a sliding arm that can extend over a fixed cutting surface. It can provide satisfactory efficiency for longer cuts. Raymond DeWalt invented the radial arm saw in 1922 to cut longer wood pieces to the accurate size. 

This machine was initially designed for bevel, cross, and miter cuts. But now, the radial arm saw is very popular for its versatility. With this adaptable power tool, you can get rip cuts, miter cuts, compound cuts, cross cuts, shaping cuts, and many more. This machine is found in professional workshop settings where heavy-duty tasks need to be performed frequently and seamlessly. 

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With its high power and speed, the blade of a radial arm saw can cut through different materials within a short time with incredible precision. Since the blade of this machine moves at a very high speed, this saw can pose potential injuries. If you cannot handle or use the saw properly, you will be affected by this tool very severely. 

Radial arm saws are complex power tools. The effectiveness and safety of this tool depend on several factors and many components’ functioning. The machine must be adjusted appropriately to avoid accidents. A faulty one should stay away from the user. 

What are the Injuries Radial Arm Saw Causes?

Radial arm saws are risky due to their high-speed operation and faster cutting capability. There is an option to adjust the angle of the blade to make varied cuts, but improper handling or use of this machine may cause a range of serious injuries. The following section lists some common injuries that may occur due to misuse or mishandling of radial arm saw. 


Amputation is an injury that occurs when the user’s hands or fingers come into contact with the fast speed of the radial arm saw. The sharp saw blade can result in the most immediate and severe injury, like amputations. 


Radial arm saws can cause avulsion injuries when the skin or tissue is torn away. When the user’s jewelry, clothing, or any body parts come into contact with the spinning blades of the radial arm saw. 

Finger Fractures

If the user’s fingers unintentionally get into the spinning and sharp radial arm saw blade, it doesn’t only fracture the fingers but also results in life-threatening injuries. 

Respiratory Issues

Any power-cutting machine is used to cut the wood into pieces that generate wood dust or particles. When these particles are inhaled, the user will suffer from respiratory issues like asthma, breathing difficulty, or other chronic diseases. The issues can be more fatal, like lung cancer, if the user is exposed to wood particles or dust for a prolonged period. 

Eye Injuries 

The debris released by the radial arm saw may irritate your eyes also. If the debris hits the eyes at high speed, the user may even lose his eyes. 

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Why do Accidents Happen by Radial Arm Saws?

Accidents of the radial arm saw may frequently occur during woodworking or construction projects. There are a variety of reasons behind these accidents. Therefore, every woodworking enthusiast or constructor should understand how to deal with this power tool to prevent future accidents. 

Kickbacks are very common causes of radial arm saw injuries. It occurs when the user cuts the material, and the cuts get caught by the saw’s blade and thrown back toward the user with great speed. This is how this may cause severe injuries to the user. 

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Another notable reason for radial arm saw accidents is insufficient training or lack of experience of the user. When the user is not sure about the machine’s operation, knowledgeable about the safety mechanisms and the potential hazards, he is more likely to face accidents. Even experienced users may experience severe injuries when they overlook safety precautions.

Improper maintenance or handling of the tool is another reason for accidents. The faulty parts of the tool must be adjusted or fixed before use. If you cannot do so on your own, get help from professionals and solve the problem immediately. 

Safe Practices to Reduce the Risks of Radial Arm Saw Accidents

As radial arm saws have inherent danger risks, you should ensure high safety practices to protect yourself. A few precautions are listed below to reduce the risks to a considerable level. 

  • Check out the manual carefully before working with radial arm saws. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced worker, reading the owner’s manual will help you to understand the process of working with the tool. 
  • You should take proper training to understand the operation of every critical power tool, like radial arm saws. Training will help you make precise cuts without causing any unexpected situations. 
  • Wear safety glasses, ear protection, mask, face shield, and safety shoes before operating radial arm saws. 
  • Keep your hand and essentials safe from the saw’s blade. 
  • Install the saw equipment carefully and correctly. Take knowledge about applications and limitations of the equipment. 
  • Take help from a professional if you need help understanding the manual’s instructions or operating the tool properly. 

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Things to Avoid when Using Radial Arm Saws

You must avoid several things to ensure safe operation when using dangerous power tools like radial arm saws. Here are the things you shouldn’t do:

  • Avoid using dull or damaged saw blades that may cause injury to your hands or fingers. Dull blades not only lead to injuries but also provide improper cuts. 
  • Stay focused when using a radial arm saw. 
  • Avoid leaving your saw unattended. Switch the radial arm saw off when not in use. 
  • Don’t reach over or around the sharp blade of the saw when it is in operation. It is always recommended to maintain a safe distance from the machine.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing, jewelry, or anything that can get into the spinning sharp blade of the saw and lead to severe injuries. 
  • Never force the saw to work faster by letting the material into the blade of the saw. 

Before You Go 

Radial saws introduce excellent benefits in woodworking and construction projects. Unfortunately, their high-speed operation is the main reason why are radial arm saws dangerous. To avoid the risks associated with using radial saws, you must be thoroughly cautious about handling them. 

Hopefully, the information in this article will help you utilize these power tools in the best possible way and mitigate the risks. Make your woodworking experience a safe and secure one with the given information.

Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

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