Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Cutting with a Petrol Saw – The easy option

Putting on Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is often seen by many Cut-off Saw (Disc Cutters) users as an inconvenience best avoided in favour of getting the job done. It’s often the view that each cut will only take a few seconds so it’s not worth worrying about the dust and the noise, and as for the risk of injury, it will be OK.

With cutting wet, it’s a similar approach; the water in the bottle won’t pump or the water runs out and is often not refilled. If it does work, the operator can’t follow the line in the wet slurry so they often start off dry and turn the water on once the starting cut is made.

All of this risks personal safety and welfare, and the welfare of those around them. What is often worse is that the pressure to get the job done means that the bad practice is passed on to the others in the team, often the new user quickly learns to take the approach that in some way it’s also unnecessary for them to consider their own personal wellbeing.

Not only does this risk potential injury, or possibly prove fatal in later life, but for good reason it’s also illegal.

An FFP3 Face Mask, a pair of Class B Goggles (Goggles wont mist up like Glasses) and a pair of Ear Defenders really must be the ‘go to’ PPE when you pick up your petrol cutter. Under the law, employers should issue them, instruct on them and supervise their wearing, and it is the legal responsibility of the employee to wear them.

Have a Pressurized Water Bottle that works and keep a Water Storage Tank on the back of the lorry/van. You can set up a reliable water supply to the machine and water storage for under £50.

If you are cutting paving slabs, use a proper Slab Cutting Guide to lock onto the slab so that you are following the edge of the Guide and not trying to follow a line. With a Guide you can use as much water as you like and you will probably also finish with a straighter more accurate cut. It also means that someone else in the team can use the saw to make the cuts as they will achieve your required accuracy and they will be able to use the saw more safely.

If you are cutting bricks or block paving and prefer to use a petrol saw, you can buy a brick or block holding jig that is easy to set up, cuts multiple bricks/blocks and ensures that the operator is cutting with the saw away from their feet. Again the outcome is an accurate straight or angled cut and a safer cut for the operator.

Unfortunately water and electricity don’t mix, which means if you are currently cutting with a ‘electric grinder’ you will need to change to a petrol saw. However there is now battery powered 9” (228mm) cut-off saws emerging onto the market from Stihl which will also do the job and like their petrol powered bigger brother they have an inbuilt water suppression system.

There are products on the market that will aid anyone cutting paving slabs or block paving to do the job more easily, more safely and where both the employer and the employee are operating safely and within the law. All it needs is the will to make a small change.

If you are an internet user and want to see more about ‘ways to improve cutting and safety’ here are some links so that you can see what is on the market that will help compliance and could make your work simpler and safer.

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