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As most folks have said here, if your saw comes with a particular piece of safety equipment, use it. It makes no sense to leave the bladeguard or anti-kickback pawls off. Obviously when making dado or other non-through cuts these and other safety features such as riving knifes my be taken off, but if you can accomplish the task without removing the safety equipment, do so. Also, never use the rip-fence as a stop for crosscutting, that's just asking for a piece of lumber to go flying around the shop. I never use my hand as a push-stick, have several different push sticks of varying widths for different width cuts, but I just don't want my hand that close to a blade spinning at thousands of RPMs. Lastly, and this is mostly me trying to develop good habits now that I have a little one that I don't want wondering into the shop and accidentally turning the saw on, I always retract the blade, unplug the saw, and remove the yellow safety-key from the switch whenever I leave the shop, I'll admit pre-baby I wasn't as good about these last measures but now I'm pretty much religious about following them.
 
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