Bandsaw Training Programmes
It’s essential that all workers and members of staff who use bandsaws are specifically trained in how to use a bandsaw safely. Bandsaws are extremely versatile cutting tools that can be used to create curved cuts in timber, steel, plastic, aluminium & other materials but they are also extremely dangerous.
The Importance Of Bandsaw Training
Without proper training, workers using bandsaw machines are at risk of suffering from severe cuts and wounds and even amputation of hands and limbs. Minor injuries from bandsaw use include cuts and abrasions from flying debris.
The severity of serious bandsaw injuries requires that all organisations take bandsaw health and safety seriously and provide adequate training to all workers using a bandsaw. Proper training ensures that all staff are able to use bandsaws safely and reduce the risk of injury to both themselves and the people around them.
Bandsaw Machine Health & Safety
Appropriate bandsaw health and safety involves ensuring that all staff members are trained in the safe operation of bandsaws and also understand what to wear to protect themselves and how to position themselves when using a bandsaw.
Where possible, all staff members should follow good control practices as set out by the Health and Safety Executive in their WD1 guide to bandsaw health and safety.
Bandsaw Safety Legislation
The rules that dictate who is responsible for the safe operation of bandsaws and other powerful work tools are laid out in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, also known as the PUWER regulations.
The PUWER regulations clearly place a duty on those people and companies who own, operate or have control over powerful work equipment including bandsaws.
They state that all such equipment used at work is suitable for its intended use, safe to use, and operated only by people who have received adequate training. They also state that all such equipment should be accompanied by suitable health and safety measures including protective controls.
If the rules laid out in the PUWER regulations aren’t followed, not only could this lead to serious injuries but it could also result in an organisation or individual owing significant costs in legal damages and compensation.
Bandsaw Safety Guidelines
The following strategies can help teams to manage bandsaw-related risks and hazards:
● Keep bandsaws in isolated areas to minimise visual distractions to the user
● Preserve space around the bandsaw and the operator to minimise the risk of bumping
● Fix guarding on the bandsaw to prevent entanglement
● Adjust the blade guide and guard so that it’s as close as possible to the material that’s being cut
● Use a push stick when pushing small pieces of material towards the bandsaw
● Keep fingers and hands away from the line of cut
● Do not use a wide blade on a curve with a small radius
● Do not stack pieces of material
● Use braking systems to reduce blade run-down times where possible
● Lock out all power equipment before cleaning and maintenance
As well as following these guidelines, all bandsaw users should be appropriately dressed when using bandsaws and other power tools. This involves wearing personal protective equipment designed to protect users from light cuts and abrasions. The PPE to be worn at all times when using a bandsaw includes:
● Safety glasses
● Sturdy footwear
● Hearing protection
● Close-fitting, protective clothing
As well as this, all workers must ensure that long or loose hair is contained when using a bandsaw.
What Bandsaw Training Involves
It’s imperative that bandsaw training is thorough, covering all aspects of bandsaw use and maintenance. Workers responsible for operating bandsaws should know how to operate a bandsaw safely, how to respond in the event of an emergency, and how to maintain and store bandsaws safely when they’re not in use.
Our bandsaw training provision is designed to cover all relevant aspects of bandsaw use and storage. It’s suitable for workers at all levels, and booking staff onto this bandsaw training course ensures that employers and organisations are fulfilling their obligations to fully train staff in bandsaw health and safety as laid out in the regulations.
The Parts Of A Bandsaw
Bandsaw training ensures that all workers understand the individual components of a bandsaw and how these operate together. This includes:
● The blade: A long, thin strip of metal with a serrated edge
● The vice: This holds the material that you want to cut
● The laser: A guiding light that shows you where to cut
● The infeed table: A worktop that you can work your materials on
● The hydraulic lift and hydraulic clamping systems: These systems lift the frame and hold it in place.
● The mitring: This pivots when necessary to obtain the right angle of cut
The Functions Of A Bandsaw
All workers should understand the functions of a bandsaw and how each component of the bandsaw contributes towards these functions. For example:
● Cutting: Cutting curved lines in timber and wood of all thicknesses
● Clamping: The bandsaw’s clamp holds the material in place
● Bow lifting: This lifts the saw frame of heavy-duty bandsaws.
● Mitring: This helps you to change the angle of the cut.
What PPE To Wear And When To Wear It
Workers operating bandsaws in the workplace must wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times when operating a bandsaw. Appropriate PPE for bandsaw operators should include:
● Safety glasses: Safety glasses reduce the risk of flying debris and splinters causing loss of sight or damaging the area around the eyes.
● Protective footwear: All workers should wear protective footwear onsite at all times.
● Gloves: It’s essential that workers operating bandsaws wear gloves only when moving materials. They should NOT wear gloves when operating the bandsaw itself, as this could impact precision and cause an accident.
Members of staff should be aware of the importance of wearing PPE when operating a bandsaw, and the appropriate PPE equipment should be supplied to workers by employers.
Safety Features & Functions Of A Bandsaw
All bandsaws are equipped with safety features and functions to reduce the risk of serious injury when in use and mitigate the damage done if an injury occurs. It’s important that workers are aware of these safety features and understand how and when to use them.
● Emergency stop switch: This halts the operation of the bandsaw immediately. It’s important that all workers know where this is before they begin working with a bandsaw.
● Safety guards: These sit under the bandsaw table and prevent the blade from ejecting in the event of breakage and prevent accidental contact when the bandsaw is in use.
● Safety interlock switches: These prevent access to dangerous parts of the machine when the machine is in use.
Bandsaw Operation Dos And Don’ts
● Inspect all materials for warping and knots before clamping
● Maintain a well-balanced position and feed the material into the blade gradually
● Turn the machine off and disconnect it from the power before installing or removing any accessories
● Always make curved cuts gradually
● Use relief cuts to make tight radius curves
● Make all cuts on the waste side of the bandsaw line
● Start the machine when the wood is already touching the blade
● Back out of curved cuts when the bandsaw is still running - this will break the blade
● Keep your hands in front of the blade when cutting, always keep them at the sides
The Bandsaw Mitring System
The bandsaw mitring system allows users to cut timber at different angles to create versatile shapes and forms. The mitring system pivots the head of the bandsaw to make mitre cuts while leaving the material stationary. This makes it possible to make cuts at different angles even when working with large lengths of wood or in tight workspaces.
Workers must understand what the mitring system is, how it works, and how to use it safely. This includes knowing how to safely swivel the machine and lock it into position.
The Hydraulic System And Downfeed Controls
Most bandsaws operate using hydraulic power. Hydraulic damping prevents the bandsaw from being dropped onto the workpiece and ensures a smoother cut. It allows the bandsaw arm to lower slowly for safer operation.
The downfeed controls of the bandsaw impact how quickly the arm moves. All workers should be trained in how to use downfeed controls to cut efficiently and safely. This means knowing which speeds of cutting to use to cut different types and thicknesses of materials without increasing the level of risk involved.
Construction Of The Sawblade And Blade Teeth
A bandsaw blade is a serrated metal blade with teeth of varying sizes. Bandsaw operators should understand how to select an appropriate blade for the project they’re working on and the type of material they’re cutting.
Bandsaw blades come in different thicknesses, widths, lengths, and tooth configurations. Four common tooth configurations exist: standard, skip, variable, and hook. The type of blade needed for a job depends both on the material being cut, the gradient of the curves being cut, and the type of bandsaw being used.
Workers should also understand how to select an appropriate blade speed for the cuts they’re making. Generally, this means using a lower speed for high-strength materials and a higher speed for wood and non-ferrous metals.
Demonstrating The Safe Operation Of A Bandsaw
All good training courses should include a practical demonstration of the safe operation of a bandsaw. Each demonstration should involve showing the trainee how to carry out each job before supervising the trainee carrying it out themselves. This practical demonstration should cover how to safely:
● Coil and uncoil a blade
● Fold and unfold blades
● Change a blade
● Use and adjust a tracking system
Blade Tension Systems And Common Faults
Blade tension describes how stretched the blade of a bandsaw is. Trainees should understand how to set the tension of a bandsaw blade and how to identify the symptoms of errors relating to blade tension.
Common faults when blade tension is too high
● Hairline cracks develop on the edge of the blade or within the gullet of blade teeth
● Premature blade breakage
Common faults when blade tension is too low
● The blade won’t cut straight
● The blade leaves marks or shadows on the wood
Reasons For A Blade Breaking Or Stripped Teeth
There are many reasons why a bandsaw blade might break, and being able to identify and correct these problems could reduce the risk of blade breaks and related accidents in the workplace.
● Cutting materials with the blade tension set too high
● Overfeeding the machine with too much material at once
● Cutting materials using the wrong blade speed
Setting Up Bandsaw Guides
All bandsaw operators must understand how to set up and align bandsaw guides and how to inspect guides to ensure they’re correctly set before operating the bandsaw.
Position the thrust bearing less than 1mm behind the blade but ensure it’s not touching. Position the side guides on either side of the blade, around 2mm behind the blade gullets. These should be behind the teeth and not in line with them. Finally, set the bearings. These are usually set a short distance on either side of the blade.
Cleaning & Maintaining A Bandsaw
Bandsaws must be cleaned regularly, and bandsaw operators are responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of their bandsaws as and when necessary. Maintaining a bandsaw includes:
● Checking the levels of the hydraulic system
● Carrying out routine adjustments
● Lubricating the bandsaw
In addition to this, operators should know how to carry out daily and weekly safety checks.
Before finishing bandsaw safety training, all trainees should have changed a blade and operated a saw while cutting materials.
Notify all operators of the cutting materials that are suitable for each machine, and hand out blade ordering details to enable managers to order the appropriate blades for the projects they’re working on.
Finally, make sure all trainees know that our team are contactable for any help in the future. Operating a bandsaw without sufficient knowledge and training is very dangerous, which is why we offer our full and permanent support to all of our clients.
Arrange Expert Bandsaw Training
At Saws UK we’re one of the UK’s leading providers of high performance cutting machines, and are trusted to deliver high quality training on all the equipment we supply.
To find out more about our bandsaw training options or to arrange training with our experts, get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements.
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