V. Ryan 2021

The fretsaw is a common and important piece of equipment and is found in most workshops. They tend to be in use most days and safety instruction is required, in the same way as instruction is required for all machinery.

The image below, shows a fretsaw being used in a irresponsible and dangerous manner:
1. The machine operator is not concentrating on the use of the machine. In fact, he is focussing on the lolly!
2. He is not holding the work firmly down on the table of the fretsaw, it is at an angle, which means he will not have full control of its movement. Two hands are required for holding the work down (some fretsaws even have a clamp, which can be adjusted to the thickness of the material being cut).
3. He is not wearing goggles, which means his eyes are not protected against flying debris, produced as the blade cuts through the material.
4. He is not wearing an apron and this means that his tie and shirt, could be caught by the moving parts of the fretsaw.
5. The fretsaw user is wearing jewellery (a ring). Jewellery should not be worn in a workshop. It is possible that the ring could be caught by the blade as it moves, pulling the whole hand into the blade.
6. He is wearing training shoes (which are also against the school rules). Training shoes offer no protection against falling material or tools. He should be wearing leather shoes and if possible, safety shoes.
7. The fretsaw users friend is distracting him, by poking him in the back. This could lead to an accident on the machine.
8. The foot switch of the fretsaw is broken, leaving the bare wires, The foot switch should be in working condition, because it may be needed to stop the fretsaw quickly. The fretsaw user should have reported this immediately to his teacher.
9. The fretsaw is surrounded by off-cuts of wood. These should have been cleared away by the previous user. The off-cuts will get in the way of a clear view of the cutting area and may even make it difficult to reach for the off switch. 10. The waste material on the floor, is a trip hazzard.
11. The users hair is covering his eyes, so that he cannot not see clearly. It should be brushed back, away from his eyes. Long hair should be tied back or a hair net worn.
12. The air blower, that blows away dust from the blade area, is broken. This means that dust will build up, making it difficult to see the cutting action. Hands and fingers could easily get in the way of the blade.
13. There appears to be no extraction unit. This removes dust from the area, so that it is not ‘breathed in’ by the machine operator. The machine operator will be breathing in dust, when using this machine.
14. The guard is not in position and it is broken.
15. The on/off switch at the top of the machine, is broken and dangerous.
16. The fretsaw user is disregarding the safety training he has received and acting foolishly.



Ed the Handyman is using a fretsaw. His brother is trying to tell him about what he did at lunch time. Ed does not have the commonsense to tell him to act in a safe manner or to use the machine safely himself.




1. What is unsafe about the way Ed and his brother are behaving?

2. What is wrong with the way the machine is being used?

3. Explain how you intend to use a fretsaw safely.