I use a RAS almost daily and can say that the saw cannot climb over the board and come at you. The motor/saw assembly is a fixed distance between the table and the arm, and does not move up and over a board when cutting. If it does that more than one attachment point is loose or not connected, and in that case the saw should not be used anyway. A dull blade, or pulling too fast may cause some resistance which may put an upward pressure on the motor, but in no way will it climb over a board.
What is important is to have a properly set up saw, use an appropriate blade (negative hook), and it being sharp, and feeding into the cut slowly, and use a slow smooth pull.
A push type cutting procedure requires pulling out the saw, setting up the subject piece, and then doing a push cut. I find counteracting the resistance is easier on a pull cut. If a board is wide, there may not be enough room to pull out the saw to start in front of the work.
Getting to know the feel of any tool and its limits may come with their use, and hopefully add to operator safety.
OK you guys, we are all entitled to our opinions, but these are the facts: When pulling
the saw into the workpiece, because of the direction of blade rotation, the first teeth to contact the work are pushing it INTO the table surface and back towards the fence.
the blade into the workpiece, the first teeth to contact the work are trying to pull/lift it UP OFF the table surface. So it's up to you which way you chose to operate it, but the 2.4 million saw guard recall on Craftsman saws is because the old guard did not properly hold the work down on the table, when ripping, so the website states, the major source of accidents, kickbacks and lawsuits. They did this at great expense and for good reasons.
They offered to buy my older model blade guard and motor back for $100.00, since my saw was not covered under the recall....no way! They want to
"retire it", thanks but I'll keep it going around in cicles.
Cabinetman's point about the width of the workpiece is also well taken.
When cutting with a circular saw/Skill saw the work is pushed up into the base of the saw, trapping it even though you are pushing the saw away from you into the workpiece. The RAS is not the same,since there is no base plate to stop the workpiece from lifting off the table, YOU must securely hold it down.
Which ever method you use it's best to understand what the forces acting on the workpiece are. My opinion, with assorted facts thrown in.