SAFETY CORNER – Safety Committee Issues Guidance on Saw Equipment for Water Industry Members

Scotty MacNeill, National Safety Director

Members of the UWUA National Safety Committee come from all five regions, with safety representatives in each region for the electric, gas and water industries. National Safety Committee meeting agenda items include sharing incidents and best practices.

The following is an example of the impact the Safety Committee has when working together. Changes can happen throughout an industry at UWUA represented worksites. Lives can be saved.

After an unfortunate fatality at one of our water utility employer’s sites, the Safety Committee’s water subcommittee met:

  • Employee was killed on the job using a cutoff saw to demo water pipe. During the task the saw kicked back, hitting the employee and causing a fatal wound.
  • Committee discovered that this was not an isolated event in the water industry.
  • Several of our locals had experienced incidents and close calls with the same tool.
  • Locals working for two of our largest water employers shared that they have stopped using the cutoff saws to demo pipes and shared their best practices and information on the safer alternative saw that is now in use, the ICS Abrasive Chainsaw.
  • The committee reached out to the manufacturer of the ICS Abrasive Chainsaw. They shared an MIT study on rotational kickback which can be found on the UWUA National site safety resource page. (
  • The committee members brought this information back to their region’s water locals and employers. They are now working to have this safer tool replace the more dangerous demo saws in the field.


This is only one example of the way the National Safety Committee is working to make our work environments safer for all UWUA members.

Please contact your committee member for further information. Go to