May 29, 2012 — A new bill is proposing to require safety devices in all table saws sold in California. The bill has passed in the state assembly (52-2), and is currently awaiting an official vote in the Senate. By 2015, the proposed legislation would require all table saw manufacturers to have “active injury mitigation technology” — safety devices that automatically shuts off the saw blade when it comes in contact with human skin.
The bill (AB2218) was originally introduced by Assemblyman Das Williams (D – Santa Barbara). Multiple trade groups have voiced support for the bill, with none yet in opposition. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, table saw injuries cost society around $35,000 per injury, or $2.36 billion per year. There are 67,300 medically treated table saw injuries every year, including 4,000 severe amputations. With flesh-sensing safety technology, most of these injuries could be treated with a Band-Aid.
One of the most popular brands of this safety device is called the SawStop. It is a relatively simple invention that works by running a mild electrical current through the metal saw blade. When the blade comes in contact with human skin, the electrical current drops. A computer sensor registers this drop and triggers a braking mechanism, which can stop the saw blade within a milliseconds. The SawStop has been around for more than a decade, and its inventor says adding it to saws would cost an extra $100 per saw.
Despite the fact that this safety device could prevent thousands of table saw injuries and amputations every year, table saw manufacturers have been resistant to implementing the invention. They cite unreasonable costs, saying that the safety device would price most small table saws out of the price range of hobbyists. Others say that it is unfair to make everyone pay extra to buy a table saw for the mistakes of a few.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission, a federal agency tasked with deciding these matters, has been weighing the issue for several years now. At the request of table saw manufacturing lobbying groups, they have continually pushed back the decision, saying they need more time to fully review the situation.
California legislators contend that the federal commission has had enough time to review the matter, and it is time for legislators to assert some leadership on the issue.
Do I have a Table Saw Injury Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting table saw induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a table saw, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Table Saw Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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