How Common Are Circular Saw Accidents? Best Safety Tips

Last Updated On February 10, 2023

Circular saws are mobile, and with that portability comes instability. These power tools are not to be messed with. Wondering how common are circular saw accidents? Well, pretty common.

Almost every year, 120,000 traumatic upper limb injuries, or TULI are caused by the four most dangerous tools. Table saws and circular saws are among them. Nail guns and utility knives as well. 

National Library of Medicine, in their research paper state, that 16.5% of work-related TULIs are caused by circular saws. The injuries caused by power saws are of a more severe nature, with tissue destruction from blade contact. 57% of cases result in amputation.

So, saw safety is no laughing matter. The numbers alone prove that. Let’s take a deeper look.

How Common Are Circular Saw Accidents? According To Different Studies & Statistics

In the study conducted by the National Library of Medicine that we took a look at earlier, researchers spoke with 141 patients from hospital records that suffered from TULIs caused by machinery. So the findings of their research are based on the 141 participants.

104 of them were injured while operating a power saw. That’s 73.78%. Out of them, 93.3% were male, with an average age of 46.8 years. 44.2% of these patients were manual workers. The second most frequently injured were hobbyists at 13.5%. 

Most of these injured had lacerations on their fingers, with the thumb being the most commonly hurt. 81.7% of the 104 people were injured by manual saws, 10.6% of which were contributed by wood circular saws.


This goes to demonstrate that the circular saw is responsible for a lot of the TULIs caused by machinery. We don’t mean to sound morbid, but injuries from a circular saw can very well be a cause of death. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 200 deaths each year are a result of power tools-related injuries. 

What Are The Common Reasons Behind Injuries Caused By Power Tools

So we know the improper use of power tools is what causes injuries. Yes, the use of these tools comes with an inherent risk. But if you are careful and follow the proper guideline, you can reduce this risk significantly. However, as humans, we tend to take things lightly, and thus a lot of accidents occur that were avoidable. 

Let’s take a look at what’re the exact mechanisms that were commonly seen in studies on power tool-related injuries in order to avoid similar circumstances.

  • Kickback is the most common reason behind power tool-related injuries. It’s when the flow of the tool is interrupted, and it jumps backward at the operator. Almost half the accidents happen this way.
  • Most accidents happen when the operator first feeds the workpiece into the saw. Kickback rates are higher then, and it’s always the most difficult part of cutting a wood piece.
  • The slipping of the workpiece is also responsible in some cases.
  • Contact with the operator’s hand during cutting and sometimes even after turning the saw off.
  • Wavering attention of the operator and distractions.
  • Sometimes, the operator’s clothes catch on the tool, causing accidents. 
  • Not cleaning the machine properly, using old blades.
  • Falling on the tool is also a reported reason.

What Can Be Done To Avoid Accidents Caused By Circular Saws? Safety Tips

Take the following actions to make working with your power tools safer.

  1. Don’t push in the blade deeper than ⅛ inch to ¼ inch greater than the workpiece’s thickness. This reduces the chances of kickback and its severity by minimizing contact with the saw blade surface. Avoid knotty, pitchy, warped pieces of wood.
  2. Use a wood-cutting table or sawhorses to support your workpiece. Although a circular saw is portable, you always want your workpiece to be on a stable surface. Clamp it down to avoid any slipping and sliding. This will also keep both your hands-free so you can guide the saw better.
  3. Don’t keep your fingers directly behind the blade ever. If there’s kickback, you don’t want your finger to be in the path of the blade moving backward.
  4. Wear clothes that are fitted to your body with nothing hanging loose. Wear protective gloves and eyewear while operating the saw. 
  5. Work in a quiet environment where you can focus whenever possible. Limit as many distractions as you can.
  6. Wear boots with traction to avoid slipping. Keep your surroundings clean. Don’t place things where you can trip on them.
  7. Always use the appropriate tool with the right specs and blade depth. Make sure your blade is sharp and has no missing teeth. It needs to run smoothly and is in top-notch shape and condition. 
  8. If possible invest in those models that have a safety feature that shuts down the saw within milliseconds of sensing contact. They’re becoming more common. 

Final Words

Working with sharp blades always has risks attached to it. But we tend to overlook those risks when working with them for a long time. Patients who hurt themselves with power tools reported to the National Library of Medicine that they participated in improper usage of their tools even after knowing that they weren’t doing it right as per the regular safety standards. 

That just goes to show how little we sometimes think of our safety. Introducing new technology by manufacturers to make their products safer should be the goal for them. Hopefully, you got an insight into how common circular saw accidents are by reading our article.

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