Table Saw Injuries
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that around 35,000 people per year end up in the emergency room as the result of table saw injuries. Surprisingly, most of these injuries could be avoided if the Power Tool Industry (PTI) required that table saws be equipped with safety devices that prevent blade contact injuries. The technology exists today, and has existed for over a decade, but the PTI is opposing the power saw automatic safety technology largely because they claim it would be too expensive.
The majority of table saw injuries occur as the result of "kickbacks'. Kickbacks happen when the wood catches on the back of the rotating blade of a table saw. The saw operator is rendered off balance by the kickback and often times the finger, hand or arm of the operator slips and comes into contact with the powerful blade of the table saw. The resulting injuries can be serious and sometimes life altering.
Saw Stop is a company that was first to market with a product that prevents these power saw blade contact injuries. Saw Stop automatically detects the presence of human skin or flesh via a weak electrical current running through the blade of a table saw. Once the device senses skin, it shuts down the saw blade within 3 to 5 milliseconds. Other companies have also developed similar technology that prevents blade contact injuries. These power saw safety devices could help table saw users to avoid injuries such as:
- Severed or damaged fingers
- Severed or damaged tendons
- Severed or damaged muscle
- Severed or damaged nerves
- Bone fracturesL
- Bone breaks
The cost of the table saw safety mechanism is estimated to be about $100 per saw. The technology can easily be incorporated into the manufacturing of any table saw. However, the PTI has not embraced the safety device. The PTI claims that the table saw safety technology is too expensive and people are not willing to pay for it. Furthermore, they say that current safety standards, namely blade guards, serve the same purpose. The problem with this argument is that blade guards are often removed by table saw users because they are difficult to maneuver when doing some common woodworking skills. Additionally, many injuries still occur with the blade guards in place. The Saw Stop technology does not interfere with any saw operations and cannot be removed from the saw.
Most table saw injuries are preventable, and instead of fighting the technology, the Power Tool Industry should require the technology so as to protect their customers. If you have been seriously injured using a table saw you may want to seek out an attorney who can help guide you through the complexities of a product liability lawsuit. Brett Oppenheimer is a Kentucky attorney who will assist you in discovering if you have the right to compensation for your table saw injury-related expenses including medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, pain and suffering. Please contact Brett via email, or you may call him at (502) 242-8877.