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Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993)

Guidance Notes

Driven Machinery Regulations, 2015

4. Circular saws


(1) No user may require or permit any person to operate a power-driven circular saw—
(a) at a speed in excess of the manufacturer's rated maximum speed for the saw blade; or
(b) the saw blade of which is damaged in any way or that is dull or not regular or not correctly sharpened and set.


(2) The user of a power-driven bench saw shall cause—
(a) the saw blade to be effectively guarded below the table; and
(b) the part of the saw blade above the table to be covered by a substantial guard that shall cover the saw at all times to at least the depth of the teeth and that shall automatically adjust itself to the thickness of and remain in contact with the material being cut: provided that where such a guard is impracticable, the top of the saw shall be covered by a strong manually-adjustable guard that shall be adjusted to extend downwards to a point as near as practicable to the cutting point of the saw: provided further that in the case of a breakdown saw, the guard shall effectively cover the top of the saw blade.


(3) The user shall cause every power-driven circular saw that is used for ripping wood to be provided with a riving knife, which shall—
(a) be placed as close as practicable to the saw blade, but not more than 12 mm behind it, and in a direct line with the saw teeth at the level of the bench table;
(b) have the edge nearest the saw in the form of an arc of a circle that shall have a radius not exceeding the radius of the largest saw blade that can be used on the bench by more than 3 mm;
(c) extend to a height above the table to within 5 mm of the top of the saw blade; and
(d) have a smooth surface and be strong, rigid and easily adjustable.


(4) The user shall cause every tilting saw or tilting table saw to be so arranged that the adjustment of the riving knife and the guard remains effective with any position of the saw or table.


(5) The user shall—
(a) cause a suitable push stick to be kept available at every bench saw that is fed by hand, to enable work to be carried out without danger to persons;
(b) provide suitable mechanical means for holding rough timber that is to be slabbed on a bench saw; and
(c) provide an effective guard for the automatic feed rollers of every bench saw equipped with such rollers.


(6) The user shall cause every swing or radial saw that is moved towards the material–
(a) to be guarded so that only the cutting portion of the saw blade is exposed;
(b) to be arranged in such a manner that the saw will automatically move away from the cutting position when it is released; and
(c) to be fitted with a device that will oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to pick up the timber or to throw the timber back at the operator when such saw is used for ripping timber.


(7) The user of a portable power-driven circular saw shall provide—
(a) a fixed guard above the slide or shoe, which shall cover the saw blade to at least the depth of the teeth; and
(b) a guard that shall automatically cover the portion of the saw blade below the slide or shoe while sawing is not actually being done.



(a) None