Cutting to the Chase

Feb. 1, 2003
Flat sawing procedures sawing a flat or horizontal concrete surface such as floors, roofs, bridge decks and roads is a common job for many contractors.

Flat sawing procedures — sawing a flat or horizontal concrete surface such as floors, roofs, bridge decks and roads — is a common job for many contractors. If your fleet includes saws for this application it is your responsibility to provide the operator with the proper saw for the job, in safe operating condition with all guards in place and secure, all fasteners tight, and all controls in proper working order.

The Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association recommends that the saw owner also provide an instruction manual; keep proper maintenance records; provide a device to measure blade rpm or list the arbor rpm on fixed speed saws; and see to it that all operators have proper personal safety and protective equipment for operating the saw.

Each saw's instruction manual contains the manufacturer's recommended maintenance program. Good maintenance prolongs machine life and is an important safety procedure.

Following are some additional tips to ensure safe operation for flat sawing applications.

  • Make sure the blade shaft rpm is proper for the size of blade being used.

  • Always wear safety glasses, proper footwear, hearing protection and head protection.

  • Do not operate a concrete saw in an area where there is combustible material or fumes. Sparks from the saw could cause an explosion or fire.

  • Make sure the blade is of the proper specification and size for the application. It is also extremely important to match the saw and blade for rpm. If the saw rpm is too low, the blade will wear out too fast and might not run true or straight. If the rpm is too high, the segments may glaze over and stop cutting. If a blade is run beyond its maximum rated rpm's severe damage can occur.

  • When using a wet cutting blade, the water must cover the entire blade from the mounting flanges to the cutting edge. Direct the water correctly and use enough to cool the blade, wash the slurry from the cut and leave a small edge of clear water at the outside edge of the slurry trail. If water flow is interrupted, stop cutting immediately.

  • Inspect all blades before installation. Never use a damaged blade. If the blade is cracked, the core excessively worn, warped or out of round, if segments are missing or the arbor hole is worn or damaged, the blade is unsafe to use.

  • Read and understand the operating manual for the saw you will be using.

  • Before starting operation, check for missing or loose nuts and bolts, and check any drive belts. Tighten or replace them if necessary. Check all grease fittings and apply grease as needed.

  • On air-powered saws, always use a safety pin or wire on the air hose connections. Do not turn the air on when the hoses are not connected or the saw on/off valve is in the on position.

  • With hydraulic powered saws, be sure the hoses are of sufficient size and strength to handle the pressures involved. Also make sure hose connections are tight and the on/off valve is off before starting the power pack.

  • When making connections to three-phase power sources for electric powered saws, make sure the blade rotation is correct. Also, refer to the operation manual and observe all local, state and federal electrical codes.

Information reprinted from the Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association safety handbook.