Many advances have taken place in the two decades since concrete chain saws came onto the market.
These advances have led to safer saws and less jobsite accidents, but there are still some steps that need to be taken to ensure the safety of workers in the field. Examination of working units in the field and those in contractor's shops continually unveils some lack of attention to some simple details that can enhance operator safety.
1. Ensure Chain Side Cover Integrity
Check this on a regular basis and ensure there are no cracks, no holes from slurry blasting, no missing sections and no warping in fit-up to the main saw body frame. Additionally, the slurry "baffle" and drain sections of some hydraulic saws must not be removed, have missing fasteners or missing or damaged fins. Any conditions that make a "hole" or result in a weaker guard may result in operator injury upon the event of a piece of debris being ejected due to chain speeds, or in the worse case, ejection of a component part.
2. Ensure Bottom Guard Flap Attachment
Equally important and often overlooked is the rubber, bottom guard flap, also known as the "mud flap." This flap is essential to operator safety, in particular in any application of floor cutting. In a floor cutting scenario, the operator's shins and lower torso are more exposed to being struck by debris or even a broken chain for example. The guard flap is designed to minimize this hazard, and must not be removed. Too many saws are uncovered in field use with someone having made this modification intentionally, or not having replaced a missing guard flap as an oversight.
These are certainly not the only safety precautions or cutting techniques for concrete saws. Always be sure to read the operators manual and follow the manufacturer's recommendations on safety and use of any saw.
Construction Business Owner, July 2010