Table saws cause thousands of injuries every year in the United States. In the United States, a table saw accident occurs every nine minutes. Every day, ten of these accidents result in an amputation. In 2003 alone, 93,880 table saw injuries were treated, according to CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). Many injuries are caused by a failure to have appropriate safety devices such as interlocks, and guards. Half of the table saw injuries treated in 2003 occurred because of the lack of a guard.
Injuries Caused by Kickbacks
Many injuries are also caused by kickbacks. Kickbacks occur when a piece of wood being cut catches on the back of the spinning saw blade, causing the wood to fly back toward the saw operator. The kickback causes the operator’s fingers or arm to come in contact with the blade causing a serious cut or amputation. Even the most careful operator may fall victim to this design flaw in saws. This design flaw can be eliminated by incorporating available technology which stops the blade instantly when it contacts skin. This technology can prevent serious injury, but unfortunately tool manufactures have fought adopting this technology, choosing to put corporate profits over customer safety.
Sawstop technology works by having the saw blade carry a small electric signal, which changes when coming into contact with human skin. This works because of the ability of the human body to conduct electricity. The change in signal activates a brake with springs stopping the blade in milliseconds, preventing injury. Accidents that would have resulted in a lost finger become small cuts.
Keeping Customers Safe
Manufactures have a duty under the law to make their products safe. When a manufacturer knows that a product has a danger that may be encountered by a user, the company should follow a three step analysis, starting with a design to eliminate the danger. If the danger cannot be designed out of the product because it would affect the product’s usefulness, the danger should be guarded against, and finally the manufacturer must warn the user of the danger. Sawstop technology designs out a danger that seriously injures and maims thousands each year.
Saw injuries also occur because guards are poorly designed, or guards have been removed. Removal of guards often occurs in work settings where an employer or supervisor believes that the guards slow down production. Unfortunately, it is the worker who will suffer a serious, perhaps employment-ending, injury.
Causes of Saw Injuries
If you have been injured by a table saw at work, you have rights under the worker’s compensation law, but you may also sue responsible co-employees, supervisors and the manufacturers of the saw that caused your injury. Each of these cases must be carefully investigated to determine if the saw had a design defect, or was altered by a co-employee or supervisor. Call (800) 264-3455 today to get more information from our team.