Any power tool can be dangerous if used incorrectly and can lead to an increased chance of an accident at work. In this article, Accident Advice Helpline takes an in-depth look at rotary reciprocating saws and how to avoid a work-related injury when using one.

What is a rotary reciprocating saw?
Also known as a sabre saw, a reciprocating saw is used in both construction and demolition work. A reciprocating saw utilises a push and pull motion in order to achieve a cut.

How to safely operate a rotary reciprocating saw
It is important to observe the general safety guidelines when operating any power tool. Make sure that the surface you are working on is tidy and free from debris. Never operate a reciprocating saw in the vicinity of flammable or explosive materials. Ensure that all power cables are neither worn nor frayed.
Always wear safety goggles with side shields in order to reduce the chances of an eye-injury. It may be a good idea to wear a full face visor.
Use the appropriate mask or respirator to work in dusty conditions.
Always choose the right blade for the job. A dull or blunt blade can produce excessive heat, making cutting difficult and increasing the risk of serious injury.
When changing blades, ensure that the blade clamp and spindle are clean. Metal chips and sawdust may prevent the blade from being held correctly.
To minimise flexing and provide a smooth cut, always use the shortest blade possible for the job but which will extend past the work piece when cutting.
When cutting metal, choose a blade that will have at least 3 saw teeth in the material at any point. Less than 3 teeth will result in snagging and breaking of the blade.
While cutting, adopt a position that will allow you to have full control of the saw at all times. When possible, avoid cutting anything above shoulder height.
Make sure any work pieces are clamped securely in place before commencing cutting.
Always hold the shoe of the saw against the work piece in order to reduce the chances of sustaining an injury. Striking the work piece can also cause damage to the blade and saw.

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