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How to Take the Danger Out of Servicing a Used Gang Rip Saw

There are plenty of stories about injuries that happen when people mishandle a power machine, most of which involve reckless behavior, not behavior associated with maintenance. Yet, statistics show that over 100 people in the U.S. are killed each year as they attempt routine maintenance on power machinery, a statistic that also suggests a large number of serious but non-fatal injuries received during maintenance. How do you avoid these injuries, or worse, death? Cautious behavior is a good start, but your safety ultimately depends on knowing your machine’s ideal maintenance process. In this article we focus on the maintenance process for a gang rip saw, also referred to as a ripsaw.

The Safe Way to Maintain Your Gang Rip Saw

Whether you purchase your saw new or as a used woodworking machine, the two-part safety process that precedes its maintenance will be the same:

Step One: Remove Power from the Machine

This means removing all electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic power. The best way to ensure that power is removed prior to maintenance is posting a step-by-step “lockout” procedure that details how power should be removed. The procedure should also mention how employees would know that a lockout is necessary.

Step Two: Implement the Lockout Procedure

Using the posted lockout procedure as a guide, locking out a saw’s power should easy. But be sure to finish the lockout procedure once you start it. Handing the job off to another employee could be a recipe for disaster.

What Could Happen if the Lockout Procedure Isn’t Followed?

Different woodworking machines pose different safety risks. But a rip saw poses quite a few, particularly: being mangled by moving parts, being crushed as the saw’s top section moves into the down position, and electrocution. For the saw’s operator, such accidents could mean death, which could mean big lawsuits and a damaged reputation for the company that employed him. Posting a lockout procedure on a saw that indicates when a lockout should be performed is a strong deterrent to both injuries and lawsuits.

In addition to ensuring the safe maintenance of a ripsaw, it’s also important to ensure its safe operation by evaluating its safety and reliability prior to purchase, especially if the saw is purchased used. A four-part process for arriving at quality used woodworking machinery is as follows:

Step One: Buy from Professional Sellers of Used Woodworking Machinery

Buying from professional sellers will ensure that your saw has been properly assessed for safety and dependability.

Step Two: Investigate a Seller’s Record at The Better Business Bureau (BBB)

When a seller truly places customers first, it won’t have unresolved customer complaints on its record. Avoid sellers that do.

Step Three: Ask for a Copy of the Saw’s Maintenance Record

Nothing predicts poor performance and constant repairs like poor maintenance. If a saw has spotty maintenance or a missing maintenance record, don’t buy it.

Step Four: Conduct a Firsthand Inspection

Conducting a firsthand inspection will help you to assess a saw’s general wear. If you can’t perform the inspection, have a trusted third party perform it for you.

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This post was written by who has written 35 posts on Industrial Woodworking Machinery Blog.

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