In December 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) extended the deadline for comments regarding new safety features on table saws until March 2012 at the request of the Power Tool Institute, an industry group that represents the interests of manufacturers such as Black & Decker and Bosch Power Tools.
Their reason for requesting the extension is that “stakeholders need more time to evaluate updated injury information.” Consumer advocates submitted a petition in 2003 to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, asking them to require table saw manufacturers to include safety devices in their products. It has been nearly a decade, and the CPSC has not made a decision.
Since 2000, a safety device called the “SawStop” has existed that could prevent nearly all table saw amputations, but manufacturers have refused to voluntarily place the safety devices on their products, citing an unreasonable increase in price (about $100 per table saw). Recently, a man who filed a table saw amputation lawsuit was awarded $1.5 million after the court found that table saw manufacturers were liable for not including the safety feature.
Table saws cause more than 40,000 injuries every year. Approximately 10% of those injuries, or 4,000, result in amputations every year. Fingers, hands, and arms are the most common parts of the body that are amputated. Only 20% of the injuries occur in people who are on the job, where injuries are usually covered by workplace accident insurance.
The SawStop and other table saw safety devices are actually very simple. They run an electrical current through the saw blade that is attached to a current monitor. When the blade is cutting wood (a poor conductor of electricity) the electrical current in the blade remains constant. If the blade touches flesh (a relatively good conductor of electricity) the current in the blade drops. The current monitor senses this drop, and triggers a brake mechanism that immediately stops the blade and retracts it into the machine. The blade can be retracted within 3-5 milliseconds, resulting in a 1/8-inch cut on a single finger, instead of a catastrophic amputation of fingers and limbs.
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 was injured, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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